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Cardiovasc J Afr. 2018 Jul/Aug 23;29(4):252-255. doi: 10.5830/CVJA-2017-053. Epub 2017 Dec 11.

The challenge in diagnosing coarctation of the aorta.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA. Email:


Critical coarctation of the aorta in neonates is a common cause of shock and death. It may be the most difficult of all forms of critical congenital heart disease to diagnose because the obstruction from the coarctation does not appear until several days after birth (and after discharge from the hospital), and because there are no characteristic murmurs. Some of these patients may be detected by neonatal screening by pulse oximetry, but only a minority is so diagnosed. Older patients are usually asymptomatic but, although clinical diagnosis is easy, they are frequently undiagnosed.

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