Alternate Names : Aortic coarctation
Aortic coarctation is a narrowing of part of the aorta (the major artery leading out of the heart). It is a type of birth defect. Coarctation means narrowing.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
The aorta carries blood from the heart to the vessels that supply the body with blood and nutrients. If part of the aorta is narrowed, it is hard for blood to pass through the artery.
Aortic coarctation is more common in persons with certain genetic disorders, such as Turner syndrome. However, it can also be due to birth defects of the aortic valves.
Aortic coarctation is one of the more common heart conditions that are present at birth (congenital heart conditions). It is usually diagnosed in children or adults under age 40.
Coarctation of the aorta may be seen with other congenital heart defects, such as:
- Bicuspid aortic valve
- Defects in which only one ventricle is present
- Ventricular septal defect
Pictures & Images
Coarctation of the aorta
Coarctation of the aorta is a birth defect in which the aorta, the major artery from the heart, is narrowed. The narrowing results in high blood pressure before the point of coarctation and low blood pressure beyond the point of coarctation. Most commonly, coarctation is located so that there is high blood pressure in the upper body and arms and low blood pressure in the lower body and legs. Symptoms can include localized hypertension, cold feet or legs, decreased exercise performance, and heart failure.
Review Date : 11/2/2009
Reviewed By : Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.