What Is Coarctation of the Aorta?
The aorta (pronounced: ay-or-tuh) is the major artery that carries blood away from the heart to the body. When someone has coarctation of the aorta, that person’s aorta is narrowed at some point. Here’s how a healthy heart and aorta work: Blood that needs oxygen comes from all over the body and enters the right side of the heart, which pumps it to the lungs. The lungs fill the blood with oxygen, and this oxygen-rich blood returns from the lungs to the left side of the heart. The left side of the heart finishes by pumping the blood out through the aorta. From the aorta, the blood travels through arteries that reach all of the body’s organs and tissues, bringing them oxygen. Then the blood returns to the heart through veins and restarts the cycle. When part of the aorta is narrowed, called a coarctation (pronounced: ko-ark-tay-shun), the defect can affect the body’s blood circulation because the left side of the heart has to work harder to pump blood through the narrowed aorta. Sometimes