Interrupted aortic arch repair

An interrupted aortic arch refers to a baby’s aorta being divided, or interrupted, instead of being a continuous large artery coming off the left ventricle.


Babies born with an interrupted aortic arch can become extremely sick, especially when their patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) closes. Keeping the PDA open will supply the body with blood from the pulmonary artery, but this blood will be deoxygenated because it has not yet reached the lungs. Therefore, surgery to repair an interrupted aortic arch will be required soon after a baby is born with this congenital heart disease.


Babies who have an interrupted arch usually also have another congenital heart defect called a ventricular septal defect(VSD). Cardiothoracic surgeons will reconnect the aortic arch to create a continuous “tube” and close the VSD. The specialists at Norton Children’s Heart Institute repair interrupted aortic arches in the first week of life.


Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, is the leading provider of pediatric heart care in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiothoracic surgeons have the experience, skill and training to perform this complex surgery.


The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute’s pediatric heart care among the best in the region. With our network of remote diagnostic and treatment services in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, your child can stay close to home for quality care.


What happens in an interrupted aortic arch repair?

A pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon will stitch the top part of the aortic arch and the descending aorta together to create one continuous blood vessel.


During surgery:


  • The two ends of the aorta are sewn together.
  • The patent ductus arteriosus is tied off.
  • The surgeon may place a patch over the ventricular septal defect. As your child grows, heart tissue will grow over the patch and the stitches.


Your child may need additional surgeries to address other heart issues. The Norton Children’s Heart Institute team will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan.


Interrupted aortic arch repair complications and after-care

Your child will need lifelong care with a cardiologist to look for complications over time. It is possible that the surgery site may narrow (stenosis) over time and a balloon angioplasty may be needed to correct it. Some patients also may need surgery again to fix the stenosis.


Children who have had an interrupted aortic arch repair have a higher risk for an infection called subacute bacterial endocarditis. They may need to take antibiotics before dental work or other medical procedures to help prevent this infection of the lining of the heart (endocardium).


If your child has had an interrupted aortic arch repair, ask your pediatric cardiologist about physical activity and if there are any limitations.


Why choose Norton Children’s Heart Institute

No other congenital heart surgery program in Kentucky, Ohio or Southern Indiana is ranked higher by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons than the Norton Children’s Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery Program.

  • Norton Children’s Hospital has been a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, performing Kentucky’s first pediatric heart transplant in 1986 and becoming the second site in the United States to perform an infant heart transplant.
  • Our board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric cardiovascular surgeons are leaders in the field as clinicians and researchers.
  • More than 5,000 children a year visit Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with the University of Louisville, for advanced heart care.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute successfully performs more than 17,500 procedures a year.
  • The Society of Thoracic Surgeons ranked Norton Children’s Heart Institute among the best in the region after studying years of our patients’ outcomes and our ability to handle a range of pediatric heart conditions, including the most severe.
  • Norton Children’s Heart Institute has satellite outpatient centers in Bowling Green, Frankfort, Owensboro and Paducah; 28 tele-echocardiography locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana; and six fetal echocardiography locations across Kentucky.
  • The American Board of Thoracic Surgery has certified the cardiothoracic surgeons at Norton Children’s Hospital with subspecialty certification in congenital heart surgery.
  • The Jennifer Lawrence Cardiac Intensive Care Unit is under construction to give our patients the most advanced cardiac intensive care unit available.
  • Our multidisciplinary approach to pediatric heart surgery brings together our specialists in cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, anesthesiology, cardiac critical care and other areas to create a complete care plan tailored for your child.
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Norton Children’s Heart Institute

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