Why Is Coarctation of the Aorta a Problem?
• With COA, the left ventricle has to work harder to pump blood to the body. This is because there’s reduced blood flow due to the narrowed area in the aorta. The extra work tires the left ventricle and causes the heart muscle to weaken. It can also cause the muscle to thicken (hypertrophy) and get larger. In the most extreme cases, your child can develop congestive heart failure (CHF). This is a condition in which the heart no longer pumps blood well. • Blood pressure measures the force of moving blood as it pushes against blood vessel walls. High blood pressure (hypertension) occurs when blood pushes with more force than normal. Low blood pressure (hypotension) occurs when blood pushes with less force than normal. COA causes high blood pressure in the upper body and low blood pressure in the lower body. This is because the pressure is higher in the arteries in the area before the narrowing. These arteries send blood to the head and arms. The pressure is lower in the arteries in the a