Aortic Coarctation—Child

(Coarctation of the Aorta—Child)

Definition

The aorta is the main artery in the heart. It carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body. Aortic coarctation is the narrowing of the aorta. This slows or blocks blood flow. It is often associated with other heart and vascular conditions. Examples include abnormal heart valves or aneurysms, which can lead to further health problems.
Anatomy of the Heart
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Causes

Aortic coarctation is a congenital heart defect. This means that it is present at birth. It occurs because of a problem with the way the aorta develops while the fetus is growing in the uterus.

Risk Factors

Aortic coarctation is more common in boys. Other factors that increase your child's risk of aortic coarctation include:

Symptoms

If your child’s condition is severe, they will have symptoms of impaired blood flow at birth. If aortic coarctation is not treated, it can lead to heart failure. If this condition is not detected when your child is a baby, there may be other symptoms during childhood, such as:
  • Heart murmur
  • High blood pressure in the arms
  • A weak pulse in the legs
  • Cold legs and feet
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exercise
  • Legs that are underdeveloped, but better developed arms
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If your child has any of these, talk to their doctor.

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