Aortic and Vessel Defects

The most common Congenital Aortic and Vessel Defects include:

  • Coarctation of the Aorta (CoA) - A narrowing of the major artery (the aorta) that carries blood to the body. This narrowing affects blood flow where the arteries branch out to carry blood along separate vessels to the upper and lower parts of the body. CoA can cause high blood pressure or heart damage.

  • Complete Atrioventricular Canal defect (CAVC) - A large hole in center of the heart affecting all four chambers where they would normally be divided. When a heart is properly divided, the oxygen-rich blood from the lungs does not mix with the oxygen-poor blood from the body. A CAVC allows blood to mix and the chambers and valves to not properly route the blood to each station of circulation.

  • Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA) - An unclosed hole in the aorta. Before a baby is born, the fetus’s blood does not need to go to the lungs to get oxygenated. The ductus arteriosis is a hole that allows the blood to skip the circulation to the lungs. However, when the baby is born, the blood must receive oxygen in the lungs and this hole is supposed to close. If the ductus arteriosis is still open (or patent) the blood may skip this necessary step of circulation. The open hole is called the patent ductus arteriosis.

  • Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Connection (TAPVC) - A defect in the veins leading from the lungs to the heart. In TAPVC, the blood does not take the normal route from the lungs to the heart and out to the body. Instead, the veins from the lungs attach to the heart in abnormal positions and this problem means that oxygenated blood enters or leaks into the wrong chamber.

  • Truncus Arteriosus - When a person has one large artery instead of two separate ones to carry blood to the lungs and body. In a normal heart, the blood follow this cycle: body-heart-lungs-heart-body. When a person has a truncus arteriosus, the blood leaving the heart does not follow this path. It has only one vessel, instead of two separate ones for the lungs and body. With only one artery, there is no specific path to the lungs for oxygen before returning to the heart to deliver oxygen to the body.