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Aortic coarctation is a narrowing of the aorta between the upper aorta branches and the lower aorta branches. It’s typically in an isolated location just after the “arch” of the aorta. The blockage can increase blood pressure in your arms and head; yet reduce pressure in your legs. Abnormalities of the aortic valve may also be present. At times, the narrowing of the aorta is so severe that there’s essentially no connection between the upper and lower portions of the aorta.

Coarctation of the aorta is generally present at birth (congenital). Coarctation of the aorta may range from mild to severe, and may not be detected until adulthood, depending on how narrowed the aorta is.

Coarctation of the aorta often occurs along with other heart defects. While treatment for coarctation of the aorta is usually successful, it's a condition that requires careful follow-up through infancy and throughout adulthood.