Relation of biophysical response of coarcted aortic segment to balloon dilatation with development of recoarctation following balloon angioplasty of native coarctation

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To evaluate the role of biophysical response of the coarcted segment to balloon dilatation in the causation of aortic recoarctation.


Tertiary care centre/university hospital.


Retrospective case series.


Records of 67 consecutive infants and children undergoing balloon angioplasty of native aortic coarctations were examined for an 8.7 year period ending September 1993. At 12 months (median) follow up catheterisation, 15 (25%) of 59 children developed recoarctation, defined as a gradient > 20 mm Hg. Stretch (balloon circumference - preballoon coarcted segment circumference/preballoon coarcted segment circumference), gain (postballoon coarcted segment circumference - preballoon coarcted segment circumference), and recoil (balloon circumference - postballoon coarcted segment circumference) were calculated from measurements obtained from cineangiograms performed before and immediately after balloon dilatation.


The stretch in 44 children without recoarctation (2.18 (1.23)) was similar (p > 0.1) to that in 15 children with recoarctation (1.90 (0.65)), implying that similar balloon dilating stretch was applied in both groups. Greater gain (p < 0.05) was observed in the group without recoarctation (8.8 (8.0) mm) than in the recoarctation group (5.7 (2.7) mm) but this was not substantiated in the infant population. However, the recoil was greater (p < 0.001) in the group without recoarctation (5.1 (4.3) mm) than in the recoarctation group (2.1 (1.1) mm); this was also true in the infant group.


Greater recoil in the patients without recoarctation implies preservation of intact elastic tissue in the coarcted segment. In the recoarctation group, with less recoil, the elastic properties may not have been preserved, thereby causing recoarctation. There might be a more severe degree of cystic medial necrosis in the recoarctation group than in the no recoarctation group. This needs confirmation in future studies.

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