Coarctation of the Aorta

Coarctation of the Aorta

Coarctation of the aorta is when the largest blood vessel in the body is narrowed. This narrowing makes it difficult for blood to reach the lower body. The symptoms depend on the severity of the narrowing. Newborns with a severe narrowing may be in shock with no blood flow to the legs, kidneys and intestines. If mild, older children may be diagnosed by weak leg pulses or an elevated blood pressure in their arms.


The pediatric cardiac surgeons are able to enlarge a severely narrowed aorta with surgical treatment. If the narrowing is mild or recurs after surgery, the narrowed area may be stretched in a cardiac catheterization procedure using a balloon or stent, depending on the situation.

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