Coarctation of the Aorta

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Coarctation of the aorta is a common heart defect present at birth.

With this defect, a portion of the large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body (aorta) is abnormally narrowed or pinched. Coarctation of the aorta makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the body. Over time, this can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, or other complications.

This condition is usually detected in newborns during normal blood pressure checks and by listening to the heart. Further tests, such as echocardiography, may be done to confirm the diagnosis.

Coarctation of the aorta requires repair by surgery or heart catheterization.

Current as of: March 12, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology