Coarctation of the Aorta (COA)
Also known as: COA
What is Coarctation of the Aorta (COA)?
Coarctation of the aorta is a heart condition that is present at birth involving the narrowing of the aorta. This defect may occur on its own or in association with more complex heart defects and patients with chromosomal abnormalities.
What are the signs/symptoms?
- Rapid breathing
What causes Coarctation of the aorta?
COA may be caused by an improper development of the aorta during fetal growth; however most of the time this heart defect occurs by chance, with no clear reason for their development.
How is Coarctation of the aorta diagnosed?
COA may be discovered during your child’s physical exam, while a pediatrician is obtaining the child’s vital signs. The first suspicion of a coarctation is when the doctor notes a lower blood pressure in the legs. Other test that assist with diagnosing include:
- Chest X-ray
- Echocardiography(ECHO): An echo uses sound waves to create pictures of your heart’s chambers, valves, walls and the blood vessels (aorta, arteries, veins) attached to your heart.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG): An electrocardiogram checks for problems with the electrical activity of the heart
- Cardiac catheterization: A minimally invasive procedure that provides comprehensive information about the structures inside the heart.
Treatment for Coarctation of the Aorta
If your baby is diagnosed with COA, the treatment is surgical repair of the narrowed vessel. The cardiovascular surgeon will cut out the narrowed section and sew the two healthy ends of the aorta back together. This reconstructs the arch and institutes normal blood flow through the aorta.
This page was last updated on: August 12, 2020 03:37 PM
Inspiring Patient Stories
Yuray's Heart Story
Yuray Rodriguez was only 15 days old when he underwent heart surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to repair a condition known as Coaction of the Aorta, a narrowing of the aorta that can lead to heart failure and high blood pressure. Now in college, one would never know he was born with a serious heart defect, if it wasn’t for a scar that runs down his chest.
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