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Pediatric Cardiology - Coarctation of the Aorta

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​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.

Treatments

Cardiac Catheterization
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.

Surgery
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.​

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What Do You Know About Birth Defects?

See how much you know about birth defects. Learn what you can do to lower your risk.

1. How many babies in the U.S. are born with birth defects?
2. When is an unborn baby most at risk of developing a birth defect?
3. Which of these is a common birth defect?
4. Which of these habits of the mother-to-be can be harmful to the fetus?
5. A woman who is pregnant or considering pregnancy should get a health checkup. Which of these vaccines should be up to date before she gets pregnant because of the danger of the disease to the fetus?
6. Healthcare providers advise women to take 400 mcg of folic acid daily before they get pregnant and during pregnancy. What can this help prevent in the baby?
7. Pregnant women should not handle cat litter to lower the risk of becoming infected with which of these?
8. Which of these kinds of medicines can cause birth defects if taken when pregnant?
9. During prenatal care, a healthcare provider may recommend genetic screening tests for certain disorders. What is one thing that amniocentesis tests for?
10. Extra or missing chromosomes trigger genetic birth defects. What factor greatly increases the risk for an abnormal number of chromosomes in the fetus?