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Coarctation of the Aorta Repair in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

A COA repair is surgery to open the aorta. A COA repair will improve blood flow to your child's body. This will decrease stress on his or her heart.


Call 911 for any of the following:

  • Your child has severe chest pain.
  • Your child has trouble breathing or sudden shortness of breath.
  • Your child coughs up blood.
  • Your child loses consciousness or stops breathing.
  • Your child has any of the following signs of a stroke:
    • Part of his or her face droops or is numb
    • Weakness in an arm or leg
    • Confusion or difficulty speaking
    • Dizziness, a severe headache, or vision loss

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your child faints.
  • Blood soaks through your child's bandage.
  • Your child's stitches come apart.
  • Your child's heart is beating faster or slower than usual.
  • Your child is restless or anxious.
  • Your child has swelling in his or her legs or feet.
  • Your child has severe abdominal pain or his or her abdomen is larger than usual.
  • Your child stops urinating or urinates less than usual.
  • Your child's arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever or chills.
  • Your child's pain does not get better after he or she takes medicine for pain.
  • Your child's appetite is poor.
  • Your child's wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • Your child has nausea or is vomiting.
  • Your child's skin is itchy, swollen, or he or she has a rash.
  • Your child's symptoms return.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.


Your child may need any of the following:

  • Blood pressure medicine helps control or lower your child's blood pressure.
  • Antibiotics may be given to prevent a bacterial infection.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your child's provider how to give him or her this medicine safely.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to give your child and how often to give it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children younger than 6 months without direction from a healthcare provider.
  • Do not give aspirin to children younger than 18 years. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he or she has the flu or a fever and takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin or salicylates.
  • Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell the provider 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.

Care for your child's wound as directed:

  • Ask your child's provider when you can remove the bandage and bathe him or her. Your child may only be able to take a sponge bath or shower. A bath may increase your child's risk for a wound infection. Carefully wash around the incision with soap and water. It is okay to let soap and water gently run over the incision. Do not scrub your child's incision. Gently pat the area dry.
  • Replace your child's bandage after bathing as directed. Change your child's bandages when they get wet or dirty. Do not put powders or lotions on your child's incision unless the provider says it is okay. Do not let your child swim until his or her provider says it is okay. This will decrease your child's risk for a wound infection. Check the incision every day for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus.

Prevent infection in your child:

An infection can be dangerous for your child and prevent his or her recovery. Do the following to prevent an infection:

  • Wash your hands and your child's hands often. Use a germ-killing hand gel if soap and water are not available. Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diapers, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.
  • Keep your child away from people who are sick. Ask family or friends not to visit if they are sick. Ask all visitors to wash their hands. Do not take your child to crowded places such as the mall or movies. Ask your child's provider how long you need to follow these directions.
  • Ask your child's provider if he or she needs antibiotics before procedures. Some procedures can cause bacteria to get into your child's blood. This may include certain dental procedures. The bacteria can travel to your child's heart and damage it. Your child may need to take antibiotics 6 months before certain procedures to prevent this health problem. Ask your child's provider for more information.
  • Ask your child's provider about vaccines. Vaccines help prevent infection. Your child should get a flu vaccine every year.

Care for your child:

  • Limit your child's activity as directed. Do not let your child lift anything heavy or play sports such as football or soccer. These activities can put too much stress on your child's incision and heart. Ask his or her provider what activities are safe for your child to do. Also ask when your child can return to his or her normal activities and to school or daycare.
  • Have your child drink liquids as directed. This may prevent blood clots and help your child heal faster. Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best for him or her. If your child still breastfeeds, ask how much he or she should drink each day. You may need to feed your child smaller amounts more often until he or she is stronger.
  • Feed your older child heart-healthy foods. Feed your child more fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit foods high in sodium, such as canned and processed foods. Replace butter and margarine with heart-healthy oils such as olive oil and canola oil. Other heart-healthy foods include walnuts, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, and lean meats. Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are also heart healthy. Ask if your child needs to be on a special diet.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Your child will need close follow-up over the next 2 years. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2023 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

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.

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