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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.


The week before your child's procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your child's procedure.
  • Your child may need blood tests before his procedure. He may also need an EKG, echocardiogram, or chest x-ray. Talk to your child's caregiver about these or other tests he may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
  • Talk to your child's caregiver about all your child's medicines. Tell the caregiver about all prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbs that you give your child. Your child's caregiver may tell you not to give your child certain medicines before the procedure.
  • Your child will be given contrast dye during the procedure to help caregivers see the pictures better. Tell the caregiver if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

The night before your child's procedure:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your child's procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery on your child. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may put an IV tube into your child's vein. Your child may be given liquids and medicine through the IV.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you and your child before the surgery. Your child may need medicine to keep him asleep or numb an area of his body during surgery. Tell caregivers if anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

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. Caregivers will put pressure on the site 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 taken to his room.


  • Your child cannot make it to his procedure.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • Your child has a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's procedure.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your child's symptoms or condition gets worse.


  • 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.

Care Agreement

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 (Precare)

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