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Coarctation Of The Aorta
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Coarctation of the aorta is when the aorta is too narrow. The aorta is the large blood vessel that takes blood away from the heart and out to the body. The narrowed part of the aorta slows blood flow. This makes the heart pump harder than usual to push blood and oxygen to the body.
- Heart medicines can help decrease how hard your child's heart works. This can improve his symptoms.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
Follow up with your child's PHP as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Give your child a variety of healthy foods:
Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Your child may need to limit the amount of sodium (salt) he eats. Ask if he needs to be on a special diet.
Have your child drink liquids as directed:
Ask your child's PHP how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best. Limit the amount of caffeine your child drinks. Caffeine may cause his heart to work harder than it should.
Do not smoke around your child:
If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Do not let your child smoke. Smoke can harm your child's heart and make coarctation worse. Ask your PHP for information if you or your child need help quitting.
Help your child manage stress:
Stress may cause heart problems to worsen. Help your child learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing, relaxing, or meditation. Help your child talk about his thoughts and feelings.
Contact your child's PHP if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child has chills, a cough, or feels weak and achy.
- Your child's symptoms return or get worse.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- You cannot feel a pulse in one of your child's wrists, feet, or groin.
- Your child has sudden trouble breathing.
- Your child is too dizzy to stand.
- Your child has severe pain in his chest or abdomen.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.