Coarctation of the Aorta

The aorta is the largest blood vessel that branches off your heart and delivers oxygen-rich blood to your body. Coarctation of the aorta is a type of congenital heart defect (present at birth) in which the aorta is narrowed. When this occurs, your heart must pump harder to force blood through it. If left untreated, this condition can lead to severe hypertension, heart failure, stroke, coronary artery disease or aortic dissections.

Causes of Coarctation of the Aorta

Doctors know that heart defects present at birth (congenital) arise from errors early in the heart's development, but there's often no clear cause.

Symptoms of Coarctation of the Aorta

Many babies born with this condition have no signs or symptoms. However, if the condition is severe, symptoms will start to appear. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • A bluish discoloration of the lips and skin caused by low oxygen (cyanosis)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty feeding

If not diagnosed until later in adolescence or adulthood, some of the symptoms may include:

Diagnosis of Coarctation of the Aorta

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will perform a variety of tests, including but not limited to:

Diagnostic tests and procedures

Treatment of Coarctation of the Aorta

Treatment options for this condition depend on the age at the time of diagnosis and the severity of the condition. Some treatment options include:

Medications: Though they will not be able to repair this condition, medications can help lower an individual’s high blood pressure prior to and after a procedure. For babies, medication is given to keep the ductus arteriosus open.

Medical and surgical procedures



Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
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Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
201 Lyons Avenue at Osborne Terrace
Newark, NJ 07112
(973) 926-7000
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Coarctation of the Aorta Treatment & Care

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