The nurse is assessing a child with coarctation of the aorta. Which of the following would the nurse expect to find?

A large difference in systolic blood pressure between the upper and lower extremities
Diminished or delayed femoral pulses

Explanation

• If the coarctation is minimal, diminished femoral pulses may be the only symptom. Classic findings also include hypertension in the upper extremities and hypotension in the lower extremities.

• The aorta narrows, usually distal to the subclavian artery. This causes a large difference in systolic blood pressure between the upper and lower extremities.

• Cyanosis may occur in neonates with severe coarctation combined with a patent ductus arteriosus.

• Poor feeding pattern and exercise intolerance may occur in children, but these are not indicative of aortic coarctation.

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