Objectives: We attempted to evaluate the role of balloon angioplasty in the treatment of discrete coarctation of the aorta in adolescents and adults, with special emphasis on long-term results.
Background: Controversy persists over the use of balloon dilation for the treatment of native coarctation of the aorta.
Methods: Between July 1986 and January 1997, 43 consecutive adolescent and adult patients with discrete coarctation of the aorta underwent balloon angioplasty. One- to 10-year follow-up data of 37 patients, including results of cardiac catheterization and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), form the basis of this study.
Results: No early or late deaths occurred. Balloon angioplasty produced a reduction in the peak to peak coarctation gradient from a mean +/- SD of 69 +/- 24 mm Hg (95% confidence interval [CI] 61 to 76) to 12 +/- 8 mm Hg (95% CI 10 to 14.8) (p < 0.001). Follow-up catheterization 12 months later (37 patients) revealed a residual gradient of 6.7 +/- 6 mm Hg (95% CI 4.6 to 8.9); 3 (7%) of 43 patients had suboptimal results with development of recoarctation, defined as peak gradient >20 mm Hg, with successful repeat angioplasty. A small aneurysm developed at the site of dilation in 3 (7%) of the 43 patients. MRI follow-up data 1 to 10.8 years (mean 5.2 +/- 2.7) after angioplasty (37 patients) revealed no new aneurysm or appreciable change in the size of the preexisting aneurysm in the three patients. The blood pressure had normalized without medication in 27 (73%) of 37 patients at follow-up examination.
Conclusions: Balloon angioplasty is safe and effective and should be considered a viable alternative to operation for treatment of discrete coarctation of the aorta in adolescents and adults.