Definition of Coarctation of the aorta
Aortic coarctation is a narrowing of part of the aorta (the major artery leading out of the heart). It is a type of birth defect. Coarctation means narrowing.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The aorta carries blood from the heart to the vessels that supply the body with blood and nutrients. If part of the aorta is narrowed, it is hard for blood to pass through the artery.
Symptoms depend on how much blood can flow through the artery. Other heart defects may also play a role.
Signs and tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam and take your blood pressure and pulse in your arms and legs.
Most newborns with symptoms will have surgery either right after birth or soon afterward. First they will receive medications to stabilize them.
Coarctation of the aorta can be cured with surgery. Symptoms quickly get better after surgery.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/2/2009