Symptoms Of Interrupted Aortic Arch: Causes And Treatment

Interrupted aortic arch is an uncommon disorder wherein the aorta is unfinished or broken up.

Our heart has 4 chambers; the left and right atrium at the top, and the left and right ventricles at the bottom. Circulation of blood occurs through the atria and ventricles to and from the entire the body.

Normally, the aorta is ‘curve’ shaped; in the case of an interrupted aortic arch, a segment of the blood vessel is absent and the aorta is unfinished. Consequently, it is not possible for the heart to send the blood through the aorta. It is a very critical circumstance; if blood fails to reach any portion of the body, the individual can go in to shock and the condition can be fatal.

Children having interrupted aortic arch have the following symptoms:

  • Weariness and exhaustion
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Quick breathing
  • Poor feeding habits
  • The skin appears gray in certain areas since blood is not reaching that portion of the body.
  • Those born with an interrupted aortic arch also tend to have an atrial or ventricular septal defect. A septal defect is an aperture in the septum (the wall in the middle of the heart).

Causes Of Interrupted Aortic Arch

Interrupted aortic arch is a genetic condition. A piece of a chromosome which influences the anatomy of the heart is absent. As a result, the normal shape of the heart and its vessels get afflicted.

By and large, all babies who have an interrupted aortic arch also have DiGeorge syndrome, an inherited disorder which develops due to a missing section of the same chromosome. If you have the DiGeorge syndrome, you tend to suffer from repeated infections as well as facial defects such as a cleft lip.

Even though the condition is very rare, interrupted aortic arch is a life-threatening situation and needs to be managed immediately.

Treatment Of Interrupted Aortic Arch

Interrupted aortic arch is managed with surgery to repair the aorta and re-establish the correct arch.

When the baby is in the womb, the developing heart has a small blood vessel – ductus arteriosus; it supplies blood to the pulmonary artery, which conveys blood to the lungs. The ductus arteriosus seals soon after birth. If the ductus arteriosus fails to close after the baby is born, it is known as a patent ductus arteriosus. One of chief indications of interrupted aortic arch is an open ductus arteriosus.

Given the fact that the patent ductus arteriosus is providing blood to the pulmonary artery, the primary measure in managing an interrupted aortic arch is to make sure that the patent ductus arteriosus stays open. This is achieved by giving a drug known as prostaglandin E1 to the baby.

The surgeon excises the patent ductus arteriosus and closes its aperture in to the pulmonary artery. The two ends of the aorta are then connected so that they form a whole and normal arch. Furthermore, the ventricular septal defect needs to be sealed.

Prognosis: Those treated for interrupted aortic arch need to take antibiotics all their life to avert endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s interior and valves. Following surgery, patients typically have a good outlook.