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Interrupted Aortic Arch—Child

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Interrupted Aortic Arch—Child


An interrupted aortic arch (IAA) is a rare heart defect. The aortic arch is part of the major blood vessel that helps move blood from the heart to the rest of the body. With IAA, the aortic arch is interrupted or incomplete. Blood cannot flow the way it should. Children with IAA may also have a hole in the wall between the right and left chambers in the heart.

Heart Chambers and Valves.

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Blood Flow Through the Heart.

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IAA is present at birth. The cause is not known. It happens in the fifth to seventh week of fetal growth.

Risk Factors

The risk of IAA is higher in children who have DiGeorge syndrome. This is a problem with the chromosomes.


Symptoms often appear within the first day or two after birth. Problems may be:

  • Lack of energy
  • Poor feeding
  • Rapid breathing
  • Pale, blue, or cool skin
  • Few wet diapers


The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

Pictures may be taken of your child's chest. This can be done with:

Your child's heart activity may be measured. This can be done with electrocardiogram (EKG).


The goal of treatment is to get blood to flow as it should.

Medicines may be used to:

  • Keep some blood flowing through another blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus
  • Help the heart beat stronger
  • Remove extra fluid in the body

Surgery will also be done to form a connection between the two parts of the aortic arch. Any hole in the heart between the ventricles will also be closed. The ductus arteriosus is then closed.

Lifelong monitoring by a doctor who treats the heart will also be needed.


There are no current guidelines to prevent IAA.





  • Evaluation of the infant for congenital heart disease (CHD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/evaluation/evaluation-of-the-infant-for-congenital-heart-disease-chd.
  • Interrupted aortic arch. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/i/iaa.


  • Kari Kuenn, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.