Heart and Blood Conditions

Coarctation of the Aorta Treatment

Coarctation of the Aorta Treatment Options

Doctors can treat this condition with cardiac catheterization to open the narrow spot in the aorta (balloon angioplasty) or with surgery to remove that part of the aorta. The treatment plan depends on how severe the coarctation is and if there are other birth defects.


Some children can have their narrow aorta opened using catheterization instead of surgery. This method involves inserting a small tube (catheter) through an artery or vein and threading it up to the narrowed area. Then there are two options:

  • A balloon can be inserted through the tube. When the balloon is inflated, the aorta is stretched open. Then, the balloon is removed. This is called balloon dilation.
  • A stent can be placed at the narrow spot. A stent is a tube-shaped device that can be left inside a blood vessel to hold it open.


These are the options for surgery:

  • Cutting above and below the narrow spot, removing it and joining the loose ends of the aorta together
  • Making a cut in the narrow spot to widen it and sealing it with an artificial patch or a patch taken from an artery in the child’s arm
  • Using a tube to connect the aorta above and below the narrow part

Hybrid procedure

Some children can have a hybrid procedure, which uses both catheterization and surgery. A cardiac surgeon makes cuts to provide access to the aorta. Then a cardiologist inserts the catheter to open the narrow spot. With this method a child may be able to have catheterization even if they are too small for the tube to be threaded through smaller blood vessels to their aorta.


Your child may also need medicines to treat problems related to their narrow aorta. These medicines may be used to improve the force of their heartbeat or control their blood pressure.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program

To meet your child's long-term healthcare needs, we have a special Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program to transition your child to adult care when they're ready.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.