Coarctation of the aorta (COA) is a congenital heart defect (a child is born with it) and is a narrowing in the aorta.
The aorta is the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. COA can lead to worsening heart function over time.
Marshfield Clinic Pediatric Cardiologists diagnose and recommend treatment for any child with a congenital heart defect.
Cardiac catheterization is generally done on older children and is a procedure done on the heart using a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. The catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin.
With the help of live x-rays, the catheter is advanced up through the blood vessel until it reaches the heart.
A tiny balloon at the end of the catheter is then inflated one or more times in the aorta, which opens the vessel. Then the catheter and balloon are removed.
Most children require an operation to correct the defect and prevent long-term complications later in life.
The exact technique of the surgery will depend on the degree of narrowing and location of the aorta and the timing of the surgery varies with the severity of the symptoms.
Coarctation occasionally recurs and another procedure may be necessary.