Surgery may be required for infants who have severe coarctation of the aorta and is usually recommended for those who have associated cardiac defects or those infants who do not respond to drug therapy.
On examination of the heart rhythm using a stethoscope, infants with coarctation of the aorta usually have an abnormal "gallop" heart rhythm, and 50 percent of children also have heart murmurs.
Because congenital coarctation of the aorta is unpredicted, parents may be unprepared for the diagnosis and need careful, sensitive medical explanation by the pediatrician or surgeon.
Approximately half of all infants diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta have no other cardiac defects and respond well to medical management, growing and developing normally.
The average life span of children who have coarctation of the aorta is 34 years of age, reduced primarily due to complications and to the presence of other heart problems.