Objective: Recent studies have demonstrated that there is a loss of aortic compliance in patients after coarctation repair. The clinical effect of this and other mechanisms apart from restenosis on the rate of arterial hypertension is unknown.
Methods: From 1974 through 2000, 404 patients born before January 1, 1985, underwent surgical intervention for isolated aortic coarctation. From those 382 who are still alive, 273 patients aged 16 to 73 years (1-27 years after surgical intervention) underwent a structured clinical investigation according to a prospective protocol, including blood pressure measurement at all limbs, ambulatory blood pressure measurement, and symptom-limited exercise testing.
Results: Sixty-seven (25%) patients were already taking antihypertensive drugs, and another 63 (23%) patients had an increased ambulatory blood pressure. Still another 26 (10%) patients had a blood pressure during exercise exceeding 2 standard deviations of reference values. Only 117 (43%) patients had a normal blood pressure reaction. From those 156 patients with hypertension, only 21 (13%) had a systolic brachial-ankle blood pressure difference of greater than 20 mm Hg, suggesting restenosis. In the patient group without restenosis (n = 245), independent risk factors for hypertension were repair with prosthetic material, male sex, a residual brachial-ankle blood pressure difference, and older age at follow-up.
Conclusions: The majority of patients were hypertensive at long-term follow-up after coarctation repair. This is caused by restenosis, defined by a gradient of greater than 20 mm Hg, in only a few patients. Even in those without prosthetic material or minimal-grade restenosis, there is a substantial incidence of arterial hypertension.