Coarctation of the aorta is a birth defect in which the aorta, the major artery from the heart, is narrowed. The narrowing results in high blood pressure before the point of coarctation and low blood pressure beyond the point of coarctation. Most commonly, coarctation is located so that there is high blood pressure in the upper body and arms and low blood pressure in the lower body and legs. Symptoms can include localized hypertension, cold feet or legs, decreased exercise performance, and heart failure.
Review Date 10/10/2021
Updated by: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.