When is surgery indicated in the treatment of coarctation of the aorta (CoA)?

Updated: Nov 20, 2018
  • Author: Syamasundar Rao Patnana, MD; Chief Editor: Stuart Berger, MD  more...
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Answer

Significant hypertension or congestive heart failure (CHF) is an indication for intervention. Surgical relief of the aortic obstruction and catheter interventional techniques (balloon angioplasty and stents) are available alternatives. Symptomatic neonates and infants should undergo urgent intervention soon after the infant is stabilized. Asymptomatic infants, children, adolescents, and adults should undergo the procedure electively. If neither hypertension nor heart failure is present, elective surgical or balloon therapy in children aged 2-5 years is suggested. Waiting beyond age 5 years for surgery or balloon therapy to relieve aortic obstruction is not advisable because of the evidence of residual hypertension if intervention is performed after age 5 years. [41]

Since the introduction of surgical correction by Crafoord and Nylin (1945) and by Gross and Hufnagel (1945) in the early 1940s, surgical therapy has been the preferred treatment for aortic coarctation. Various surgical techniques have been used to treat patients with coarctation of the aorta, namely, resection and end-to-end anastomosis, patch aortoplasty, left subclavian flap aortoplasty, and tubular bypass grafts. The techniques are occasionally combined or modified to fit the individual patient's anatomy. [42]

For instance, a reverse left subclavian flap aortoplasty may be used, turning the left subclavian artery as a patch back toward the left carotid artery to enlarge an area of transverse arch hypoplasia. In addition, an extended end-to-end repair may be used, in which the segment of descending aorta is beveled and brought up to the underside of the transverse arch to enlarge areas of transverse arch hypoplasia. The exact technique used varies depending on the patient's age at presentation, size, associated abnormalities, and arch anatomy. A surgical approach from a median sternotomy, rather than the classic left lateral thoracotomy, is used commonly in complex arch repairs.


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