Coarctation of the Aorta

Coarctation of the Aorta is a congenital defect in which the upper part of the descending aorta is severely narrowed or obstructed in the region near where the ductus arteriosus tissue is located. As a result, higher pressure is required in the left ventricle and ascending aorta to push blood across the obstruction, thus the blood pressure is higher in the arms compared to the legs. Patients who have coarctation of the aorta may also have other defects of the heart and blood vessels.

Coarctation of the aorta can be repaired either surgically or by performing balloon dilation or stent placement during a cardiac catheterization. During surgical correction, incisions are made above and below the narrowed area and the ductus tissue is divided. The area of coarctation is then removed and the aorta is sewn back together so that blood can flow easily from the ascending to the descending aorta. 

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