(Coarctation of the Aorta—Adult)
DefinitionThe aorta is the main artery carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body. Aortic coarctation is the narrowing of the aorta which slows or blocks the blood flow. It is often associated with other heart and vascular conditions, like abnormal heart valves or blood vessel outpouching. These conditions carry a risk of additional future problems.
|Heart and Main Vessels|
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CausesAortic coarctation is a congenital heart defect, which means it is present at birth. It occurs because of a problem with the development of the aorta while the fetus in the womb.
Risk FactorsMen are at increased risk. Other factors that increase your chances of having aortic coarctation include:
- Turner’s syndrome
- Family history of aortic coarctation
SymptomsAortic coarctation may or may not have symptoms. Symptoms may include:
- Cold legs and feet
- Shortness of breath, especially with exercise
- Leg cramps after exercise
- Chest pain
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Images may be taken of your internal structures. This can be done with:
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