Interrupted Aortic Arch—Child

Definition

An interrupted aortic arch is a rare heart defect. The aortic arch is part of the major blood vessel that helps move blood from the heart to the rest of the body. With this defect, the aortic arch is interrupted or incomplete. Blood cannot flow through it normally. This makes blood flow to the body less efficient. Children with this defect may also have a hole in the wall between the right and left chambers in the heart.
Heart Chambers and Valves
heart anatomy
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Blood Flow Through the Heart
IMAGE
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Causes

An interrupted aortic arch is present at birth. A direct cause is not known. The defect develops in the fifth to seventh week of fetal growth.

Risk Factors

There is an increased risk for this condition if your child also has DiGeorge syndrome. This is a chromosomal abnormality.

Symptoms

Symptoms typically appear within the first day or two after birth. Many times, the baby will show symptoms soon after birth. Tell your doctor if you notice the following in your infant or child:
  • Weakness
  • Poor feeding
  • Rapid breathing
  • Pale, blue, or cool skin
  • Decreased urine output
This condition can lead to shock and heart failure. Your child will need emergency care. During the exam, the doctor may detect:
  • Fast heart rate
  • Weak pulse
  • Low oxygen levels
These symptoms may be due to other conditions.

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