Aorta Coarctation is a birth defect that occurs when the aorta (the major artery leaving the heart) narrows. The aorta carries blood to the vessels that supply the body’s nutrients, and if this artery is narrowed it is hard for blood to pass through. Aorta coarctation is one of the more common heart defects and is usually diagnosed in people under the age of 40. This condition is most common in people with certain genetic disorders or other heart defects. Symptoms depend on severity, and may include: chest pain, dizziness, fainting, leg cramps with exercise, cold feet or legs, failure to growth, nosebleeds, headache, and shortness of breath. This condition can be diagnosed through a physical exam, heart tests, or measuring blood pressure and pulse in the arms and legs. Newborns with aortic coarctation will have surgery right after birth in which the narrowed part of the artery is removed or opened. Complications that may occur during surgery include: aortic rupture, bleeding in the brain, early development of coronary artery disease, infection in the heart (endocarditis), heart failure, kidney problems, stroke, high blood pressure, and hoarseness.