Overview of Coarctation of the aorta

Coarctation The aorta is the longest arterial system within your body. It carries rich oxygenated blood to your entire body. Aorta narrowing (aortic coarctation) makes your heart pump more forcefully to transport oxygen-rich blood around the aorta. Aortic Coarctation is generally present at birth (congenital). Although it can be affecting any part of the aorta the problem is usually situated in the vicinity of a blood vessel, known as the ductus arteriosis. The symptoms can be minor to serious. It is possible that it will not be noticed until later in life, based on how far the aorta has narrowed. The coarctation of the aorta is often occurred and is found in conjunction with other heart issues. Although treatment can be successful, this condition requires regular monitoring for the rest of your life.

Symptoms

  • Aortic coarctation symptoms are triggered by the intensity of the problem. Many people don’t show symptoms. Mild coarctation might not be detected until the age of adulthood.
  • Babies suffering from severe coarctation of their aorta could start experiencing symptoms soon after the birth. This includes:
  • Pale skin
  • Trouble breathing
  • Irritability
  • Heavy sweating
  • Food insecurity
  • People who suffer from coarctation of the Aorta might also exhibit signs or symptoms that suggest other heart issues that are often associated in conjunction with the condition.
  • A sign or symptom for coarctation in the aorta that occurs after infancy typically include:
  • Back pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness
  • Leg weakness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Chest pain

When should you seek medical help

  1. Get medical attention If you or your child is suffering from any of the following symptoms or signs:
  2. Severe chest pain
  3. Fainting
  4. Shortness of breath that is sudden
  5. Unexpectedly high blood pressure
  6. Although having these symptoms or signs doesn’t necessarily mean you’re suffering from an illness of a serious nature It is recommended to be examined immediately. Early detection and treatment may be the difference between life and death.

Causes

The etiology of aortic coarctation is not well established.  It is usually present from birth (congenital). Congenital heart defects are among the most prevalent of birth defects. Sometimes, coarctation of the aorta is seen in later years of life. The causes or circumstances that may make the aorta narrow and lead to this problem are:
  • Traumatic injury
  • Acute hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  • Inflamed arterial arteries (Takayasu’s arteritis)
The coarctation of the aorta typically occurs in the blood vessels which branch out towards your upper body, and also before the blood vessels which connect to the lower part of your body. It can lead to elevated blood pressure within your arm, but lower levels of blood pressure within your ankles and legs. In the event of coarctation of the aorta, the lower left chamber (left ventricle) of your heart functions more difficult in order to move blood around the narrowed aorta and the blood pressure rises within the left ventricle. This can result in the wall of the left ventricle becoming thicker (hypertrophy).

Risk factors

Coarctation of the aorta typically is associated with other heart defects that are congenital. Certain heart diseases are frequently related to coarctation, such as: Bicuspid Aortic Valve. The aortic valve divides the lower left chamber (left ventricle) of the heart from the aorta. A bicuspid aortic valve is made up of 2 flaps (cusps) in place of the normal three. A large number of patients with coarctation of their aortas have an aortic valve that is bicuspid. The condition of sub-aortic stenosis. Sub-aortic stenosis occurs when there is a narrowing in the region beneath the aortic valve, which blocks blood from the left ventricle towards the Aorta. This narrowing can take an amorphous fibrous membrane. Patent ductus Arteriosus. The ductus arteriosus is an arterial blood vessel that connects the left pulmonary artery of a baby and the aorta. It lets blood flow through the lungs when the baby is developing during the womb. Soon after birth the ductus arteriosus normally closes. If it’s still open, it’s known as an arteriosus patent ductus. Holes in the walls connect the right and left parts of your heart. Some people are born with an opening within the heart’s walls (septum) that connects the upper chambers of the heart (atrial septal defect) or between the lower chambers (ventricular septal defect). This creates oxygen-rich blood on the left heart side of it to blend with blood that is oxygen-poor on the right side of the heart. Mitral valve stenosis is congenital. The mitral valve is located between the lower and upper left chambers of your heart. It allows blood flow to on the left-hand side of your heart. Mitral valve stenosis is when the valve narrows. In a result, blood circulation between the lower and upper left chambers of the heart is reduced and the pressure is increased in the left upper chamber (atrium). The oxygen-rich blood that comes from the lungs flows back to the heart via veins that join to the left upper chamber. A rise in blood pressure within the left atrium can cause symptoms of lungs congestion. The symptoms may include breathing difficulty, shortness of breath breathing during exercise, and shortness of breath while lying down. The aorta’s coarctation is more prevalent for males than females, as well for those suffering from certain genetic conditions like Turner syndrome.

Complications

If not treated coarctation of the aorta often results in complications. In infants, it could result in heart failure or even death. Blood pressure that is high is the most frequently reported long-term result from coarctation within the Aorta. The blood pressure typically decreases after the aortic coarctation is corrected; however, it can be more than normal. Other complications associated with coarctation of the Aorta can be:
  • A bulging or weak artery inside the cerebral artery (brain aneurysm) or bleeding inside the cerebral area (hemorrhage)
  • Aortic tear or rupture (dissection)
  • An increase in the size of a portion from the wall that forms the aorta (aneurysm)
  • Heart failure
  • Premature coronary artery diseases -an increase in blood vessels that provide the heart
  • Stroke
If the coarctation of your aorta is serious the heart may not be able enough to pump blood to the other organs. This could result in heart damage and could cause kidney failure or other organ problems. There are complications that can occur following treatment for coarctation of the aorta. They can include:
  • Aorta narrowing (re-coarctation possible several years after treatment)
  • High blood pressure
  • Aortic aneurysm, or rupture
  • You’ll require a lifetime examination for the coarctation of your aorta. Additionally, you could require further treatments

Prevention

Aortic coarctation cannot be prevented since it’s typically present from the time of birth. But, if your child is suffering from an issue that can increase the risk of developing aortic coarctation, like Turner syndrome, bicuspid aortic valve, or other cardiovascular defect or has a family history of congenital heart diseases early detection may assist. Discuss the possibility of coarctation of the aortic artery with your physician.  

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