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Coarctation of the Descending Thoracic Aorta Diagnosed During Pregnancy

Sherer, David M. MD

Case Reports

BACKGROUND: Coarctation of the aorta is an uncommon condition complicating pregnancy. It is often associated with hypertension and usually involves the aortic isthmus.

CASE: Coarctation of the descending thoracic aorta was found at 21 weeks' gestation after physical findings of hypertension, a holosystolic murmur over the entire left hemithorax, and diminished lower extremity pulses. The diagnosis led to thoracotomy and placement of a graft bypass after an otherwise uneventful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: Unusual sites of coarctation of the aorta complicating pregnancy include the descending thoracic aorta.

Hypertension, a systolic murmur, and diminished lower extremity pulses led to diagnosis of extensive coarctation of the descending thoracic aorta at 21 weeks' gestation.

Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York

Address reprint requests to: David M. Sherer, MD, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, State University of New York (SUNY), Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Box 24, Brooklyn, NY 11203-2098; E-mail:

Received November 30, 2001. Received in revised form March 20, 2002. Accepted April 4, 2002.

© 2002 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists