What is the recommended level of activity for patients with coarctation of the aorta (CoA)?

Updated: Nov 20, 2018
  • Author: Syamasundar Rao Patnana, MD; Chief Editor: Stuart Berger, MD  more...
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Patients with coarctation of the aorta and hypertension who are awaiting surgical repair should limit heavy isometric exercises to a degree commensurate with the degree of hypertension.

Generally, the duration of hypertension after coarctation of the aorta repair is related in part to the duration of hypertension prior to diagnosis and repair of coarctation. Patients who undergo repair of coarctation in infancy usually remain normotensive in the absence of significant residual arch obstruction and require no specific activity restrictions or limitations. With growth, coarctation may recur, and some patients may be normotensive at rest but have significant upper extremity hypertension provoked by exercise. Such patients who desire to participate in competitive athletics should undergo exercise stress testing prior to clearance.

Patients who undergo repair later in life and who have had a significant period of preoperative hypertension are at particular risk for sustained postoperative hypertension, which may be permanent. Restrict heavy isometric exercise and other activities in these patients, commensurate with the degree of hypertension and BP control. Use exercise testing to assess BP response to exercise as a means of delineating reasonable exercise limitations.

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