OBJECTIVES, This retrospective analysis was designed to examine the intermediate and long-term effects of balloon angioplasty for native coarctation of the aorta and to determine whether any factors are predictive of outcome.
Background: Balloon angioplasty for native coarctation of the aorta is controversial. Concerns exist over lack of long-term follow-up and possible formation of aneurysms. The role of transverse arch and isthmus hypoplasia after balloon dilation is unknown.
Methods: Included in the study were all patients 3 days to 29 years old (mean age 4.6 years) referred for possible balloon dilation to the pediatric cardiac catheterization laboratory with evidence of a discrete coarctation of the aorta. The hemodynamic data, angiograms and clinical records of 102 patients were examined, with follow-up data from 2 to 117 months (median 36.2) available in 92 patients.
Results: Immediate success with balloon angioplasty was achieved in 93 (91.2%) of the 102 patients. Seventy-one patients (77.2%) with intermediate follow-up data (range 12 to 117 months) available are asymptomatic and normotensive, with insignificant arm to leg blood pressure gradients (< or = 20 mm Hg). Twenty-one patients (22.8%) with an initial successful result developed an increase in gradient 2 at 86 months after angioplasty, requiring reintervention in 18. Follow-up > 72 months is available in 17 patients, 16 of whom are normotensive and have not required additional intervention. No additional intervention was needed in 88.4% of older children and infants > 7 months old. Ten of the 13 surviving neonates who initially had a successful dilation required reangioplasty or operation 14 days to 10 months (median 4.6 months) after angioplasty. Transverse arch hypoplasia had minimal effect on follow-up blood pressure gradient, whereas isthmic hypoplasia was associated with reintervention in 50%. A small aneurysm was noted in 2 (1.9%) of 102 patients.
Conclusions: Balloon angioplasty of native aortic coarctation is effective in infants and older children. In neonates, balloon angioplasty provides effective palliation only. Aneurysm formation is rare; however, lifetime follow-up is warranted.