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Balloon Angioplasty for Coarctation of the Aorta


Balloon angioplasty for coarctation of the aorta is a procedure to open the narrow aorta. This will improve blood flow to your child's body and help his heart work less hard. This procedure uses a catheter with a tiny balloon on the end to widen the narrow area.


Before your child's procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein. Caregivers use the IV to give your child medicine or liquids.
  • Anesthesia is medicine to make your child comfortable during the procedure. Caregivers will work with you to decide which anesthesia is best for your child.
    • General anesthesia will keep your child asleep and free from pain during the procedure. He may get anesthesia through his IV. He may breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down his throat. The tube may cause your child to have a sore throat when he wakes up.
    • Local anesthesia This is a shot of medicine put into the skin around your child's groin. It is used to numb the area and dull the pain before the catheter is put in. Your child may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure.

During your child's procedure:

A catheter will be put into your child's groin and gently moved into his heart. The catheter will be guided to the middle of the coarctation. The tiny balloon at the end of the catheter will be inflated until it stretches the narrow part open. Caregivers may inflate and deflate the balloon more than once to open up the narrow area as much as possible. When the coarctation is fixed, the catheter will be removed and caregivers will put pressure on the site. This is to stop any bleeding that may happen. Your child may need stitches where the catheter was put in. Your child will need to lie flat.

After your child's procedure:

Your child will be taken to a room to rest. Caregivers will watch him very closely. He will need to lie flat and still for about 4 hours. Do not let your child get out of bed until caregivers say it is okay. When caregivers see that he is okay, your child will be allowed to go home.

  • Do not let him get out of bed on his own until his caregiver says he can. Talk to caregivers before your child gets up the first time. They may need to help him stand up safely. When your child is able to get up on his own, have him sit or lie down right away if he feels weak or dizzy. Then press the call button to let caregivers know you need help.
  • Your child will be able to drink and eat certain foods once his stomach function returns after the procedure. Your child may be given ice chips at first. Then he will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If his stomach does not become upset, he may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once your child can eat soft foods easily, he may slowly begin to eat solid foods.


  • Your child may have an allergic reaction to the dye used during the test. He may bleed, bruise, or be sore where the catheter was put into the groin. The catheter could tear a hole in a blood vessel or the heart. Your child may bleed more than expected and need a blood transfusion or repair a hole. He could get a blood clot in his lungs or heart. He could develop an infection, or his lung could collapse. Your child may have high blood pressure after the procedure. An aneurysm may develop in the fixed aorta. This is a weak area in the blood vessel that can bulge or break.
  • Your child's aorta could become narrow again. This is called recoarctation. If this happens, he may need another balloon angioplasty. If caregivers cannot dilate the coarctation with balloon angioplasty, your child may need surgery. If your child does not have a balloon angioplasty, his condition could get worse.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Balloon Angioplasty for Coarctation of the Aorta (Inpatient Care)

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