Background: Recent surgical reports on coarctation of the aorta have primarily focused on the relative merits of various operative techniques. However, appropriate timing for elective repair remains unclear.
Methods: In a retrospective analysis we examined the surgical outcomes in 176 consecutive patients undergoing repair of coarctation of the aorta in our institution over a 25-year period. Ninety-nine percent of the patients had follow-up for a median of 7.5 years.
Results: A total of 13 patients have died (7.4% overall mortality). Nine of these patients had associated complex intracardiac anomalies. There was no mortality in the 113 patients with isolated coarctation. Residual or recurrent coarctation occurred in 27 patients (15.3%). The age at operation and the type of surgical repair did not have an effect on the incidence of recurrence. Persistent or late hypertension was identified in 18 of the 107 patients who have been followed up for more than 5 years (16.8%). A total of 48 patients operated on during infancy have been followed up for more than 5 years. Only 2 have developed late hypertension (4.2%). Both of these patients had recurrence. In contrast, 16 of the 59 patients operated on after a year of age had late hypertension (27.1%).
Conclusions: To minimize the risk of persistent hypertension, elective repair of coarctation should be performed within the first year of life.