Comparison of angioplasty and surgery for unoperated coarctation of the aorta.
BACKGROUND The use of balloon coarctation angioplasty instead of surgery as treatment for unoperated coarctation of the aorta is controversial. The efficacy and complications of the two procedures have not been studied before in a prospective fashion.
METHODS AND RESULTS Thirty-six patients were prospectively randomized to either angioplasty (20 patients) or surgery (16 patients). Immediate results and patient follow-up, including physical examination, angiograms, and magnetic resonance imaging, were compared between groups. Reduction in peak systolic pressure gradient across the coarctation was similar (86%) immediately after both balloon coarctation angioplasty and surgery. On follow-up, aneurysms were seen only in the angioplasty group (20%) and not in the surgery group (0%). No aneurysms have shown progression or required surgery. The incidence of other complications was similar in both groups, although two patients experienced neurological complications after surgery. Although not statistically different, the incidence of restenosis (peak systolic pressure gradient > or = 20 mm Hg) tended to be greater in the angioplasty group (25%) than in the surgery group (6%). Restenosis after angioplasty occurred more frequently in patients with an aortic isthmus/descending aorta diameter ratio < 0.65 and was associated with an immediate catheterization residual peak systolic pressure gradient across the coarctation > or = 12 mm Hg.
CONCLUSIONS Immediate gradient reduction is similar after balloon coarctation angioplasty and surgical treatment of unoperated coarctation of the aorta. The risks of aneurysm formation and possibly restenosis after angioplasty are higher than after surgery, although the risks of other complications are similar. Balloon coarctation angioplasty may provide an effective initial alternative to surgical repair of unoperated coarctation of the aorta in children beyond infancy, particularly in patients with a well-developed isthmus. Further follow-up is necessary to determine the long-term risks of postangioplasty aneurysms.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association