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by McCoy K

Aortic Coarctation—Adult

(Coarctation of the Aorta—Adult)

Definition

The 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
BP00015 96472 1 aorta.jpg
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Causes

Aortic 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 uterus.

Risk Factors

Men are at increased risk. Other factors that increase the chances of aortic coarctation:

Symptoms

Aortic coarctation may or may not have symptoms. When present, symptoms may include:
  • Cold legs and feet
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exercise
  • Lightheadedness
  • Leg cramps after exercise
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Nosebleeds
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Images tests may include:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

Surgery

The narrow section of the aorta can be removed surgically. The 2 healthy ends can be reconnected.

Balloon Angioplasty

A tiny catheter tube is inserted into a blood vessel in the leg and threaded up to the aorta. There, a balloon is inflated to expand the narrow area. A stent may be placed to keep the area open.
Balloon Angioplasty
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Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent aortic coarctation because it is a congenital defect.

RESOURCES

American Heart Association
http://www.heart.org
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
http://www.heartandstroke.ca
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
https://www.ottawaheart.ca

References

Coarctation of aorta. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116066/Coarctation-of-aorta. Updated June 16, 2017. Accessed March 1, 2018.
Coarctation of the aorta. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/coa.html. Updated January 2017. Accessed March 1, 2018.
Coarctation of the aorta (CoA). American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/Coarctation-of-the-Aorta-CoA%5FUCM%5F307022%5FArticle.jsp#.WpgysGrwZQI. Updated January 19, 2018. Accessed March 1, 2018.
Congenital heart defects. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/congenital-heart-defects. Accessed March 1, 2018.

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