Coarctation of the aorta symptoms depend on the severity of the condition. Most people don't have symptoms. Children with serious aortic narrowing may show signs and symptoms earlier in life, but mild cases with no symptoms might not be diagnosed until adulthood. People may also have signs or symptoms of other heart defects that they have along with coarctation of the aorta.
Babies with severe coarctation of the aorta may begin having signs and symptoms shortly after birth. These include:
- Pale skin
- Heavy sweating
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty feeding
Left untreated, aortic coarctation in babies might lead to heart failure or death.
Older children and adults with coarctation of the aorta often don't have symptoms because their narrowing may be less severe. If you have signs or symptoms that appear after infancy, you most commonly will have high blood pressure (hypertension) measured in your arms. However, your blood pressure is likely to be lower in your legs. Signs and symptoms might include:
- High blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
- Leg cramps or cold feet
- Chest pain
When to see a doctor
Seek medical help if you or your child has the following signs or symptoms:
- Severe chest pain
- Sudden shortness of breath
- Unexplained high blood pressure
While experiencing these signs or symptoms doesn't necessarily mean that you have a serious problem, it's best to get checked out quickly. Early detection and treatment might help save your life.