Coarctation of the Aorta Treatment

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Finding out your baby has a heart defect like coarctation of the aorta brings a lot of worries and questions. You may have learned your baby will be born with this condition from a prenatal ultrasound. Or caregivers saw signs of it while your baby was in the nursery after delivery. Either way, you’re wondering what it means for your child, where to get the best care, and what to do next.  

At UVA Health Children's, our congenital heart surgeons are experts in treating infants with coarctation of the aorta, including those with a hypoplastic aorta. You can trust that your child will get the best care available. All from a hospital U.S. News & World Report ranked the #1 children’s hospital in Virginia.

Coarctation of the Aorta Repair Surgeries at UVA Health Children's

Not every hospital has the ability to perform heart surgery on infants or experience doing it. At UVA Health Children's, babies with coarctation of the aorta have higher survival and success rates than the national average. Because of our expert care, they often go home from the hospital sooner.

Our team will make a plan of care based on your child’s specific condition and needs. Your baby may need one of two surgeries. We will see how long the section of your baby's aorta that is narrowed is to determine which surgery is best. After either surgery, your baby’s lower left heart chamber (ventricle) won't have to work as hard to pump blood through the aorta.

Our survival rates for these procedures are 100%. You can trust we have the skills to successfully operate on your baby’s heart.  

See our success rates.

Sternotomy for Hypoplastic Aortic Arch

Your baby’s aortic arch may be too small. The aorta is the main artery that carries blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. The arch is the part of this blood vessel that curves so blood travels upward from the heart and then downward toward the rest of the body. When the aortic arch is too small, the heart has to work harder. It has more difficulty pumping oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body. The heart can also fail.

Our expert congenital heart surgeons will open the front of your baby’s chest to reach the aortic arch. They’ll add an artificial material to the aortic arch to make it bigger.

In a small number of cases, children need an additional procedure to repair the aorta when they’re older.

Isolated Coarctation Repair 

In some cases, our surgeons can enter the chest from the left side instead of the front if the coarctation segment is short. Our experts will cut out the narrowed part of the aorta. Then they’ll attach the two normal-sized parts of the aorta that were on either side of the part that was removed.