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Congenit Heart Dis. 2011 Nov-Dec;6(6):583-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0803.2011.00589.x. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Surgical strategy for aortic coarctation repair resulting in physiologic arm and leg blood pressures.

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  • 1Pediatric Cardiac Consortium of Upstate New York; University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital, 601 Elmwood Ave., Rochester, NY 14642, USA.



The goal of aortic coarctation repair is laminar aortic blood flow resulting in a negative or absent arm:leg blood pressure (BP) gradient. Despite satisfactory relief of coarctation, associated arch hypoplasia can result in residual obstruction and postoperative upper body hypertension.


We devised a surgical strategy to create a tension-free anastomosis with a diameter as large as both the adjacent proximal and distal aorta using a radically extended end-to-end anastomosis via sternotomy and/or thoracotomy. Sternotomy is chosen when there is significant transverse arch hypoplasia defined as a distal transverse arch ≤ diameter of the left carotid artery, presence of a common brachiocephalic trunk, or coexisting intracardiac lesion requiring repair. Thoracotomy is used in all other cases.


From 2000 to 2008, 95 consecutive patients were repaired using this approach, 35 with sternotomy and 60 with thoracotomy. At a mean follow-up of 50 ± 23 months, mean systolic BP was 94 ± 10 mm Hg, and 84% of patients had no residual arm:leg BP gradient. Mean arm:leg BP gradient was not statistically different between groups (-8.5 ± 15 sternotomy and -7.0 ± 10 mm Hg thoracotomy, P= .7). With Doppler echocardiography, 96% of patients demonstrated normal early diastolic reversal of blood flow in the descending thoracic aorta.


For aortic coarctation repair in infancy, a strategy designed to directly address aortic arch hypoplasia results in excellent intermediate-term results with normal BP, physiologic arm:leg BP relationship, and near normal descending aortic blood flow velocities by Doppler.

© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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