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Aortic Coarctation -- Child

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by McCoy K

(Coarctation of the Aorta—Child)



If this condition is not detected when your child is a baby, he may have these symptoms during childhood, such as:
  • Heart murmur
  • High blood pressure in the arms
  • A weak pulse in the legs
  • Cold legs and feet
  • Shortness of breath, especially with exercise
  • Legs that are underdeveloped, but better developed arms
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. If your child has any of these, talk to the doctor.


If your child’s condition is not detected at birth, the doctor will ask about his symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. Tests may include:
  • Blood tests
  • Chest x-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the chest
  • MRI of the heart—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the heart
  • CT scan of the heart—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the heart
  • Echocardiogram —a test that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the size, shape, and motion of the heart
  • Cardiac catheterization (rarely needed)—a tube-like instrument inserted into the heart through a vein or artery (usually in the arm or leg) to detect problems with the heart and its blood supply


American Heart Association

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute



Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery



Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Coarctation of the aorta. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin website. Available at: . Accessed June 2010.

Cincinnati Children’s. Aortic coarctation. Cincinnati Children’s website. Available at: . Updated September 2009. Accessed June 30, 2010.

DynaMed Editorial Team. Aortic coarctation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated June 2010. Accessed June 30, 2010.

McCoy K. Aortic coarctation. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: Updated September 2009. Accessed June 30, 2010.

Rothman A, Galindo A, Evans W, Collazos J, Restrepo H. Effectiveness and safety of balloon dilation of native aortic coarctation in premature and neonates weighing <2,500 grams. Am J of Cardiology. 2010;105:1176-1180.

Vijayalakshmi K, Griffiths A, Hasan A, O'Sullivan J. Late hazards after repair of coarctation of the aorta. BMJ . 2008;336:772-773.


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