About Coarctation Of The Aorta:
Coarctation of the Aorta is a congenital heart defect in which the newborn has narrowing of the aorta. The aorta is an important part of the heart and is responsible for transporting oxygenated blood from the heart to the different parts of the body. If the aorta becomes narrow, there is restriction of the flow of the blood from the heart. This makes the heart pump harder in order to meet the requirements of the body. This over a period of time, if not diagnosed and treated, results in the heart muscles getting weak causing a variety of symptoms.
The newborn with Coarctation of the Aorta will have trouble breathing normally. The severe the narrowing the more symptoms the child will exhibit. While in some cases, Coarctation of the Aorta is diagnosed immediately after birth, in other cases it may not be diagnosed until the teenage years of the child when the symptoms become more severe.
Coming to the causes, in most cases there are no causes identified for this condition. However, some studies suggest a genetic link to the development of Coarctation of the Aorta. Boys are more likely to get Coarctation of the Aorta than girls. This article gives a brief overview of the ways to diagnose Coarctation of the Aorta.
How Do You Diagnose Coarctation Of The Aorta?
In cases of Coarctation of the Aorta, the child will have trouble breathing immediately after birth. This will prompt the healthcare provider to look for the presence of a heart murmur. Once a heart murmur is identified, the physician will look for the location where the murmur is the loudest. This will give the physician an idea as to where the defect may be located.
In order to confirm a defect in the heart, the physician will order a series of tests. The testing will depend on the age of the child and the child’s overall health. This will begin with a chest x-ray to look for any abnormality within the lungs or the heart.
An ECG will then be conducted to look for any damage to the heart muscles. This will be followed by an echocardiogram which will clearly show narrowing of the aorta. This test will virtually seal the diagnosis of Coarctation of the Aorta.
A cardiac catheterization may also be performed in which a catheter is inserted from the legs through to the heart. This catheter will have a minature camera fitted to it. This will allow the physician to explore the structures of the heart and the narrowing of the aorta can easily be identified by this test.
Additionally, An MRI may also be done of the heart which will show narrowing of the aorta. Generally, echocardiogram and cardiac catheterization is enough to make a definitive diagnosis of Coarctation of the Aorta.