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Ann Thorac Surg. 2009 Dec;88(6):1923-30; discussion 1930-1. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2009.07.024.

Recurrent coarctation: is surgical repair of recurrent coarctation of the aorta safe and effective?

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Section of Cardiothoracic Surgery, James W. Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202-5123, USA.



Persistence or recurrence of stenosis is a complication of coarctation repair and is associated with major long-term morbidity. The rate of recurrence varies significantly, depending on the age of the patient, technique at initial repair, and the arch anatomy. We reviewed our experience with surgical repair of recurrent coarctation of the aorta and compared it with our institutional experience with balloon aortoplasty.


We retrospectively reviewed our experience with 1,012 patients undergoing initial repair of coarctation between 1960 and 2008. During that time, 103 patients (10%) required reintervention. Median age at reintervention was 6.5 years (range, 2 weeks to 44 years) and median weight was 12 kg (range, 1.9 to 94 kg). Fifty-nine patients with recoarctation had surgical repair, and 44 patients were treated with balloon aortoplasty with or without stent placement.


Ninety-five percent of patients have been followed up (median time, 14.2 years; range, 2 months to 42 years). There were 5 late deaths. Actuarial survival was 98% at 15 and 40 years in patients with surgical reintervention, and it was 91% (p = 0.001) at 15 years in patients with balloon aortoplasty reintervention. A second redo coarctation of the aorta reintervention was performed in 12 patients: 8 patients after percutaneous intervention (nonsurgical) and 4 patients after surgical recoarctation repair. The median interval between first and second reintervention was 3.5 years (range, 1 month to 14 years). One patient who had two dilations underwent a third and fourth reintervention: patch enlargement and pseudoaneurysm resection. Freedom from reintervention in the surgical group was 96% at 15 years and 94% at 40 years, which was compared with actuarial freedom from reintervention for patients with percutaneous intervention (balloon/stent) at 15 years (82%; p < 0.001).


Our study demonstrates that surgical repair of recurrent coarctation of the aorta can be performed safely and with excellent results. The recurrence after surgical reintervention is low, and most patients to date have not required further intervention. Balloon aortoplasty as an alternative method of managing recoarctation is efficient and less invasive than surgery; however, well-described complications may occur. Recurrence rates with angioplasty are significantly higher than with surgery.

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