Treatment for coarctation of the aorta depends on your age at the time of diagnosis and the severity of your condition. Other heart defects might be repaired at the same time as aortic coarctation.
A doctor trained in congenital heart conditions will evaluate you and determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition.
Medication isn't used to repair coarctation of the aorta. However, your doctor may recommend it to control blood pressure before and after stent placement or surgery. Although repairing aortic coarctation improves blood pressure, many people still need to take blood pressure medication after a successful surgery or stenting.
Babies with severe coarctation of the aorta often are given a medication that keeps the ductus arteriosus open. This allows blood to flow around the constriction until the coarctation is repaired.
Surgery or other procedures
There are several surgeries to repair aortic coarctation. Your doctor can discuss with you which type is most likely to successfully repair your or your child's condition. The options include:
- Resection with end-to-end anastomosis. This method involves removing the narrowed segment of the aorta (resection) followed by connecting the two healthy sections of the aorta together (anastomosis).
- Subclavian flap aortoplasty. A part of the blood vessel that delivers blood to your left arm (left subclavian artery) might be used to expand the narrowed area of the aorta.
- Bypass graft repair. This technique involves bypassing the narrowed area by inserting a tube called a graft between the portions of the aorta.
- Patch aortoplasty. Your doctor might treat your coarctation by cutting across the narrowed area of the aorta and then attaching a patch of synthetic material to widen the blood vessel. Patch aortoplasty is useful if the coarctation involves a long segment of the aorta.
Balloon angioplasty and stenting
This procedure may be used as a first treatment for aortic coarctation instead of surgery, or it may be done if narrowing occurs again after coarctation surgery.
During balloon angioplasty, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube (catheter) into an artery in your groin and threads it through your blood vessels to your heart using X-ray imaging.
Your doctor places an uninflated balloon through the opening of the narrowed aorta. When the balloon is inflated, the aorta widens and blood flows more easily. Sometimes, a mesh-covered hollow tube (stent) is placed in the aorta to keep the narrowed part of the aorta open.