Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

Although coarctation of the aorta may be repaired, you'll need careful follow-up throughout life in order for doctors to monitor you for complications and recurrences.

Your doctor may suggest that you have regular follow-up appointments with a doctor who specializes in congenital heart disease. In follow-up appointments, your doctor may evaluate you and order imaging tests to monitor your condition. Your doctor will also check your blood pressure and treat it as needed.

Here are a few tips for managing your condition:

  • Get regular exercise. Regular exercise helps lower blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to restrict certain physical activities, such as weightlifting, which can temporarily raise your blood pressure.

    Your doctor may evaluate you and conduct exercise tests prior to deciding if you should participate in competitive sports or weightlifting.

  • Consider pregnancy carefully. Before becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor to determine if you can undergo pregnancy safely. Women with coarctation of the aorta, even after repair, may have a higher risk of aortic rupture, aortic dissection or other complications during pregnancy and delivery. Doctors will also evaluate whether your blood pressure is controlled.

    If you have had aortic coarctation repair and are considering becoming pregnant, careful management of your blood pressure is important to help keep you and your baby healthy.

  • Prevent endocarditis. Endocarditis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the heart or of its structures, caused by a bacterial infection.

    You generally won't need to take antibiotics before certain dental procedures to prevent endocarditis. However, if you've had endocarditis in the past, or if you had a stent placed or had valve replacement surgery, then your doctor may recommend antibiotics.

Prevention

Coarctation of the aorta can't be prevented, because it's usually present at birth (congenital). However, if you or your child has a condition that increases the risk of aortic coarctation, such as Turner syndrome, bicuspid aortic valve or another heart defect, or a family history of congenital heart disease, early detection can help. Discuss the risk of aortic coarctation with your doctor.