What We Do

A coarctation is a narrowing of the aorta, the main artery that supplies blood from your heart to your body. Because the aorta's constricted, the heart has to work harder to pump blood. It's as if your body is having a traffic jam that's getting bigger over time. It can mean higher blood pressure above the constriction and lower blood pressure below.

We use a balloon procedure to open the narrowing.​

 Materials and Resources to Help You

The Patient & Family Education Program at UHN offers valuable resources to help you understand your condition.

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program

Visit our Health Information section to find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.​

 Your Procedure

First, you'll meet with the doctor, who will talk with you about the procedure and answer your questions. The doctor will explain the risks and tell you about other possible treatments.

If you decide to go ahead, we'll give you an appointment and also book you to attend the Pre-Admission Cardiology Clinic. Here, you'll meet one of our nurses and have blood work done to prepare you.

How to Prepare

You can have NOTHING to eat or drink from midnight the night before your Opening Coarctation procedure. Medications can be taken with a sip of water unless you're instructed otherwise by your doctor.

Please bring with you a list of your current medications. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamin or mineral supplements and herbal remedies.

A friend or family member is required to be present in the lab during the procedure. You will be sedated during this procedure. The friend or family member will be instructed on how to care for you after the procedure and be required to drive and/or accompany you home. They can also help you gather information, take notes and ask questions.

Checking In

Your procedure will be done in the Cardiovascular Investigations Unit but you will be admitted to the Cardiac Short Stay Unit on the 5th Floor Munk Building on the morning of your procedure.

When you arrive at the Cardiac Short Stay Unit, check in at the reception desk. Please have the following ready:

  • Health card (OHIP card). If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license, passport, or other provincial health card). Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
  • Your name, address and birth date

Your procedure will be done shortly after you arrive. Your doctor will see you at that time.

Before the Opening Coarctation Procedure

When you check-in, the receptionist will give you a name band to wear. You will be assigned a room to wait and asked to change into a hospital gown. Your family should keep your valuables with them.

A nurse will prepare you for the procedure by reviewing a checklist, starting an IV and confirming your medications.

When it's time for your procedure an attendant will take you down to the Cardiovascular Investigations Unit.

During and After the Opening Coarctation Procedure

An anesthetist will give you some medication to put you to sleep before the doctor opens up the narrowing in your aorta. When the procedure is finished, pictures of your aorta will be taken.

To open the constriction, a small catheter or tube is passed through the artery in your groin into the aorta. A balloon catheter is used to place a stent, which is a metal mesh tube that expands to open and seals the constriction. The stent is left in place after the balloon is removed.

After you wake up from the procedure, we will take you to the recovery area of the Cath Lab until you are alert enough to return to your room. From the Cardiovascular Investigations Unit, we will return you to the Cardiac Short Stay Unit on the 6th floor of Eaton South.

Following the Opening Coarctation Procedure

After you're awake, the doctor will discuss the outcome of the procedure with you. We'll tell your family when it's done, and they can see you after the procedure's over.

You will be discharged from the hospital the morning after. You will have an electrocardiogram (ECG) before you go.

Follow-up after Discharge

You will have a follow-up visit 8-12 weeks after your procedure and have a CT Scan of your aorta. The Adult Congenital Cardiac Clinic will schedule follow-up appointments within 2-3 months and inform you of the appointment time by mail.

For more information, please contact:

Miguela Ragell, Booking Secretary
Phone: 416 340 4393
Fax: 416 340 4127

You will come back to our hospital in 8 to 12 months for an angiogram.

How Long Will Your Procedure Take?

The procedure usually takes from 90 minutes to 2 hours.

We do everything that we can to stay on time. Unfortunately, your procedure may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances. We recommend that you come prepared for delays.​

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