Coarctation of the aorta is a congenital heart defect characterized by a narrowing of part of the aorta, which is the major artery leading out of the heart. The aorta is responsible for carrying blood from the heart to the vessels that supply the body with essential blood and nutrients. If a portion of the aorta is narrowed, it makes it difficult for blood to pass through the artery, forcing the heart to work harder to force blood through the narrowed aorta. In some cases, coarctation of the aorta may be seen with other congenital heart defects, including ventricular septal defects, bicuspid aortic valve, and defects in which only one ventricle is present. Because coarctation of the aorta is most often present at birth, certain events occurring during pregnancy may increase a child’s risk of developing this birth defect. Research shows that the use of certain pharmaceutical drugs during pregnancy may contribute to the risk of congenital malformations, including heart defects, in babies. If your child was born with coarctation of the aorta, and you believe a medical mistake to be the cause, contact an experienced birth defect attorney to discuss your legal options.
Symptoms exhibited by babies born with coarctation of the aorta typically depend on the severity of the condition, determined by much blood can flow through the artery. In children with severe coarctation of the aorta, signs and symptoms may appear shortly after birth and can include:
Although coarctation of the aorta can occur anywhere along the aorta, the narrowing is most often located near a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. Because coarctation of the aorta usually occurs beyond the blood vessels that branch off to the upper body and before the blood vessels that lead to the lower body, victims of aortic coarctation typically have high blood pressure in the arms, but low blood pressure in the legs and ankles.
There are a number of serious complications associated with coarctation of the aorta, many of which are a result of long-standing high blood pressure caused by aortic coarctation. Common complications of coarctation of the aorta include:
If coarctation of the aorta is severe, your heart may not be able to pump adequate blood to major organs, possibly resulting in kidney or liver failure. If left untreated, coarctation of the aorta can also lead to heart failure and possibly even death.
Heart birth defects like coarctation of the aorta are serious malformations which can lead to life-threatening complications for affected children. If you or a loved one has suffered from coarctation of the aorta, which you believe to be the result of a medical error, consult an experienced birth defect attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and medical bills, which you can collect by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital, doctor or Ob/Gyn charged with your care. You are not responsible for any serious injuries caused by the alleged negligence of a healthcare professional. With the help of a qualified birth defect lawyer, victims of coarctation of the aorta birth defects can protect their rights and may be able to prevent similar medical mistakes from occurring in the future.