Interrupted Aortic Arch -- Child

An interrupted aortic arch is a rare heart defect. The aortic arch is part of the major blood vessel that helps move blood from the heart to the rest of the body. With this defect, the aortic arch is interrupted or incomplete. Blood cannot flow through it normally. This makes blood flow to the body less efficient. Children with this defect may also have a hole in the wall between the right and left chambers in the heart.

  • Causes

    A direct cause is not known. The defect develops in the fifth to seventh week of fetal growth. The child is born with the condition.

  • Definition

    An interrupted aortic arch is a rare heart defect. The aortic arch is part of the major blood vessel that helps move blood from the heart to the rest of the body. With this defect, the aortic arch is interrupted or incomplete. Blood cannot flow through it normally. This makes blood flow to the body less efficient. Children with this defect may also have a hole in the wall between the right and left chambers in the heart.

    Heart Chambers and Valves
    heart anatomy
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    Blood Flow Through the Heart
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Images may be taken of your child's chest. This can be done with:

    • Echocardiogram
    • X-ray
    • MRI scan
    • CT scan


    Your child's heart activity may be measured. This can be done with
    electrocardiogram.

  • Prevention

    There is no way to prevent this condition. Getting appropriate prenatal care is always important.

  • Risk Factors


    There is an increased risk for this condition if your child also has
    DiGeorge syndrome. This is a chromosomal abnormality.

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms typically appear within the first day or two after birth. Many times, the baby will show symptoms soon after birth. Tell your doctor if you notice the following in your infant or child:

    • Weakness
    • Poor feeding
    • Rapid breathing
    • Pale, blue, or cool skin
    • Decreased urine output


    This condition can lead to shock and
    congestive heart failure. Your child will need emergency care.

    During the exam, the doctor may detect:

    • Fast heart rate
    • Weak pulse
    • Low oxygen levels

    These symptoms may be due to other conditions.

  • Treatment

    Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include: