Objectives: To evaluate the usefulness of balloon angioplasty for relief of native aortic coarctation, we reviewed our experience with this procedure, with special emphasis on follow-up results.
Background: Controversy exists with regard to the role of balloon angioplasty in the treatment of native aortic coarctation.
Methods: During an 8.7-year period ending September 1993, 67 neonates, infants and children underwent balloon angioplasty for native aortic coarctation. A retrospective review of this experience with emphasis on long-term follow-up forms the basis of this study.
Results: Balloon angioplasty produced a reduction in the peak-to-peak coarctation gradient from 46 +/- 17 (mean +/- SD) to 11 +/- 9 mm Hg (p < 0.001). No patient required immediate surgical intervention. At intermediate-term follow-up (14 +/- 11 months), catheterization (58 patients) and blood pressure (2 patients) data revealed a residual gradient of 16 +/- 15 mm Hg (p > 0.1). When individual results were scrutinized, 15 (25%) of 60 had recoarctation, defined as peak gradient > 20 mm Hg. Recoarctation was higher (p < 0.01) in neonates (5 [83%] of 6) and infants (7 [39%] of 18) than in children (3 [8%] of 36), respectively. Two infants in our early experience had surgical resection with excellent results. Three patients had no discrete narrowing but had normal arm blood pressure and had no intervention. The remaining 10 patients had repeat balloon angioplasty with reduction in peak gradient from 52 +/- 13 to 9 +/= 8 mm Hg (p < 0.001). Reexamination 31 +/- 18 months after repeat angioplasty revealed a residual gradient of 3 to 19 mm Hg (mean 11 +/- 6). Three (5%) of 58 patients who underwent follow-up angiography developed an aneurysm. Detailed evaluation of the femoral artery performed in 51 (88%) of 58 patients at follow-up catheterization revealed patency of the femoral artery in 44 (86%) of 51 patients. Femoral artery occlusion, complete in three (6%) and partial in four (8%), was observed, but all had excellent collateral flow. Blood pressure, echocardiography-Doppler ultrasound and repeat angiographic or magnetic resonance imaging data 5 to 9 years after angioplasty revealed no new aneurysms and minimal (2%) late recoarctation.
Conclusions: On the basis of these data, it is concluded that balloon angioplasty is safe and effective in the treatment of native aortic coarctation; significant incidence of recoarctation is seen in neonates and infants; repeat balloon angioplasty for recoarctation is feasible and effective; and the time has come to consider balloon angioplasty as a therapeutic procedure of choice for the treatment of native aortic coarctation.