(Coarctation of the Aorta—Child)
Aortic coarctation (AC) is a narrowing of the aorta. This is the main artery in the heart. It carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body. AC slows or blocks blood flow.
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AC is a type of heart defect that a baby has at birth. It happens because of a problem with the way the aorta forms while the baby is growing in the womb.
The risk of this problem is higher in children who have other family members who have heart defects.
Problems may be:
- Problems breathing
- Lack of energy
- Cold legs and feet
- Poor feeding in infants
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Blood tests will be done.
Pictures will be taken of the heart and the structures around it. This can be done with:
AC that is not treated can lead to heart failure. Treatment depends on a child's age and symptoms. Choices are:
There are no known guidelines to prevent AC.
Treatment for Newborns
Treatment is needed right away. Medicines may be used to help blood flow to all parts of the body and to help the heart work better. Surgery may be done to take out the narrow section of the aorta and reconnect the two healthier ends.
Treatment for Children
Children may be given medicine to reduce fluid buildup. Surgery may also be needed. Choices are:
- Resection to take out the narrow section of the aorta and reconnect the two healthier ends
- Subclavian flap aortoplasty to make the area larger using a patch or part of the artery
- Balloon angioplasty to widen the narrowed area using a balloon
- Coarctation of aorta. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/coarctation-of-aorta.
- Coarctation of the aorta. Cincinnati Children’s website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/c/coarctation.
- Repair of coarctation of the aorta. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin website. Available at: https://childrenswi.org/medical-care/herma-heart/for-medical-professionals/pediatric-heart-surgery/coarctation-of-the-aorta.
- Kari Kuenn, MD
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