Coarctation of the Aorta – Blood Vessel and Heart Abnormalities

by John McLachlan, PhD

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    00:01 they are normally as a consequence. Coarctation of the aorta means a narrowing of the aorta.

    00:06 If this takes place, then normally, you might expect to see a congestive heart failure between two and six weeks after birth. The heart will show unusual murmurs and thrills. Now, these are sounds and sensations caused by the blood attempting to go through a narrow area of the aorta and reflecting back from it. So the normal flow of the blood can be quite seriously disturbed by one of these coarctations or narrowings. One of the consequences is that you may, again, get right ventricular hypertrophy. In other words, the muscle of the wall of the right ventricle is enlarged and thickened because it’s having to work harder to try and pump blood against this resistance of the part that’s become narrow.

    00:50 Again, there may be a reduction in femoral pulses because blood is not moving around the arcs of the aorta in the normal way, not getting to the lower part of the body.

    01:01 Then, there may be a lower body cyanosis and a reduction of the femoral pulses. A is marked as a preductal coarctation. So, coming just before the point where the ductus arteriosus would be.

    01:15 And B marked as a postductal one. So those are the two varieties you could find of this coarctation of the aorta. So initially, we began by presenting a problem, our six-week-old male baby with the following signs. This, in fact, corresponds to what we described as a ventricular septal defect, and I trust you spotted that during the course of the lecture. And there are some very interesting clues that you can detect from the scenario itself. Almost nothing that happens in the clinical scenario is irrelevant. You have to be alert for a variety of different kinds of things. So for spotting a VSD, a ventricular septal defect, the time period is fairly typical; six weeks after birth, perhaps not necessarily immediately at birth.

    02:03 Male sex is also a clue because this is more common in male babies than in female babies.

    02:10 The poor weight gain and slow feeding is a consequence of the oxygenation levels, and that also causes the possibility of persistent infection of the lungs as another consequence of the condition. Finally, cyanosis is always a clue that there’s something interrupting the normal process of circulation development in the baby. So, those are some of the things that you might look for. These are common defects, as we said. Therefore, these are things that you may well encounter clinically. So we looked through the ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, tetralogy of fallot, patent ductus arteriosus, and coarctation of the aorta. Thank you very much.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Coarctation of the Aorta – Blood Vessel and Heart Abnormalities by John McLachlan, PhD is from the course System-Specific Embryology with John McLachlan.

    Author of lecture Coarctation of the Aorta – Blood Vessel and Heart Abnormalities

     John McLachlan, PhD

    John McLachlan, PhD

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