Coarctation of the Aorta

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Coarctation of the aorta is a birth defect that causes a portion of the aorta to narrow. The aorta is the major artery that runs from the heart and supplies the rest of the body with blood. The disease can lead to life-threatening heart problems if left untreated.

Genetic disorders and birth defects of the aortic valve may cause this condition. We offer genetic testing at our Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic, located at the Heart & Vascular Center.

Treatment for Coarctation of the Aorta at UVA

Our specialists can diagnose coarctation of the aorta with a series of tests, including:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Echocardiography
  • Ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Aortography

We'll work with you to choose the best treatment option for a successful recovery. We provide the following options. 


Your surgeon removes or opens the narrowed portion of the aortic artery. If a gap remains, a tube or graft may be used to connect the two portions of the artery.


Your doctor may perform angioplasty to open up the narrowed artery.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.