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Question:

Is it possible to do a coarctation repair without using the heart/lung machine?

My 22-year-old son was recently diagnosed with Coarctation of the Aorta, with no other heart complications. The usual fixes are not an option. The narrowing is too small for a stent, and is too high up to get to from the side to remove the narrowed section and re-attach the aorta. Our cardiac surgeon is going to use a man-made tubing to bypass the narrowing on the opposite side of the heart. Is this the best option, in this case? Has this exact procedure been done at your facility (how many times and what is the success rate)? Is it possible to do this procedure without putting him on the heart/lung machine? Thank you for your quick response.

Submitted by Anita from Louisiana on 08/04/2014

Answer:
by Denton A. Cooley, MD

The anomalies associated with coarctation of the aorta may have various forms. In some instances, a bypass using a Dacron tube is a practical solution. Most repairs are done without the use of the heart-lung machine (cardiopulmonary bypass). Surgeons at our institution are highly experienced in such cases.