What is interrupted aortic arch repair?

Also known as: IAA surgery.

Interrupted aortic arch repair is a surgical procedure to fix interrupted aortic arch (IAA). IAA is a heart defect in which the aorta is incomplete. The aorta is the main artery that carries blood with oxygen out of the heart to the body. In a child with IAA, there is a disconnection between the top part of the aortic arch and the lower, descending aorta. Arteries that deliver blood to the head, arms and other parts of the upper body branch off at the top of the arch. Arteries that deliver blood to the abdomen, legs, and other parts of the lower body branch off from the lower, descending aorta.

A newborn can survive with a disconnection in the aorta as long as a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus remains open. The ductus arteriosus is an alternate route for oxygenated blood to reach the lower body. This vessel exists in the fetus, but closes within hours or days of birth. After it closes, an infant with interruption of the aortic arch will quickly become very sick without medical intervention. This condition is life-threatening.

Reviewed by: Bhavi Patel, DO

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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