Maryam's coarctation of the aorta explained

Pediatric cardiac surgeon, Dr. Michael Mill, is quoted in this update explaining Maryam's procedure from the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Dr. Mill corrected a narrowing of Maryam's aorta (a surgical procedure called resection of coarctation of the aorta) and closed a fetal blood vessel, the ductus arteriosus, that had not closed normally when Maryam was a newborn (that surgery is called division of a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)).

"The procedure went well and she is doing fine postop," Dr. Mill said Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, she continued to do well, he said.

The ductus arteriosus is a vessel that allows blood to go around a baby's lungs before birth; after birth, it usually closes. If it does not, blood flows abnormally from the aorta to the pulmonary artery. Elman Frantz, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist at UNC, had planned to close the PDA in a catheter procedure on July 3. Dr. Frantz suspected the narrowing of the aorta after seeing results of an echocardiogram; he confirmed it during the catheter procedure. Narrowing makes it difficult for blood to flow through the aorta, the main artery that leads out of the heart. Surgery was necessary to fix the coarctation and if Dr. Frantz had closed the PDA, it would have made the surgery more difficult. So, both problems were fixed during surgery, Dr. Mill said.

Children often have high blood pressure before the operation because of the narrowing of the aorta and they need medication for a few days to weeks after surgery until the body adjusts to not having the aortic obstruction, Dr. Mill said.

The usual hospital stay after the surgery is five to seven days. "The blood pressure control is often what dictates how long the children need to stay in hospital," Dr. Mill said.

Maryam's recovery so far is typical, he said. She is receiving intravenous medication for blood pressure control; that will be converted to oral medication later.

Continue reading on the UNC Cardiothoracic Surgery website.