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Interrupted Aortic Arch—Child
by Deanna M. Neff, MPH
An interrupted aortic arch is a rare heart defect. The aortic arch is part of the major blood vessel that helps move blood from the heart to the rest of the body. With this defect, the aortic arch is interrupted or incomplete. Blood cannot flow through it normally. This makes blood flow to the body less efficient. Children with this defect may also have a hole in the wall between the right and left chambers in the heart.
An interrupted aortic arch is present at birth. A direct cause is not known. The defect develops in the fifth to seventh week of fetal growth.
Risk Factors TOP
There is an increased risk for this condition if your child also has DiGeorge syndrome. This is a chromosomal abnormality.
Symptoms typically appear within the first day or two after birth. Many times, the baby will show symptoms soon after birth. Tell your doctor if you notice the following in your infant or child:
This condition can lead to shock and heart failure. Your child will need emergency care.
During the exam, the doctor may detect:
These symptoms may be due to other conditions.
You will be asked about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Images may be taken of your child's chest. This can be done with:
Your child's heart activity may be measured. This can be done with electrocardiogram (EKG).
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include:
Certain medications will usually be given to keep some blood flowing through another blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. This allows some blood to get around the interruption in the aorta. This is a temporary treatment.
Medications may also:
Surgery is needed to correct the defect. Surgery aims to form a connection between the 2 parts of the aortic arch. The hole in the heart between the ventricles is also closed. The ductus arteriosus is then closed.
Lifelong Monitoring TOP
Your child will need to see a heart specialist regularly.
There are no current guidelines to prevent interrupted aortic arch because the cause is unknown. Getting appropriate prenatal care is always important.
American Heart Association
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Evaluation of the infant for congenital. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated November 11, 2015. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Interrupted aortic arch. Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated July 2015. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2013
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