Use of cardiovascular computed tomography in the diagnosis and management of coarctation of the aorta

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Coarctation of the aorta is a common malformation accounting for 5% to 8% of all congenital heart defects. Although echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging are most frequently used in the diagnosis and management of coarctation of the aorta, the role of multidetector computed tomography in congenital heart defects has been expanding and its use has been increasing over the last few years. Multidetector computed tomography with its high spatial and temporal resolution, multiplanar reconstruction capabilities, and wide field of view is an excellent tool for the detection and characterization of coarctation of the aorta, and the identification of associated anomalies of the heart and pulmonary vasculature. It is particularly useful and indicated in patients with contraindications for cardiac magnetic resonance (eg, patients with aortic or coronary artery stents, pacemakers or implantable cardioverter defibrillators, and mechanical heart valves). Knowledge of the cardiac computed tomography appearance of coarctation of the aorta and associated abnormalities is critical for accurate diagnosis and management, which includes providing information to plan surgical or percutaneous therapy. We present various forms of coarctation of the aorta on cardiac computed tomography.

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