Coarctation of the Aorta
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(rollover to compare with normal) What Is It?

Coarctation of the Aorta is characterized by a blockage (coarctation) in the aorta itself. This may consist of a narrowing of the vessel or a shelf-like obstruction within it (shown in diagram to left).

The coarctation is located on the descending aorta near the heart, usually immediately past the point (further from the heart) where the subclavian artery (SA in the diagram) exits the aorta on its way to the upper body.

In some cases, the aortic valve (AV), through which blood enters the aorta from the left ventricle, is abnormally formed in this defect, with only two valve leaflets rather than the usual three (Bicuspid Aortic Valve).