The major mortality from congenital heart disease occurs within the first year of life. A review of the autopsy material at Babies Hospital from 1935 through 1960 revealed that three-quarters of the deaths from congenital heart disease occurred under 1 year of age.1 The primary surgical interest in congenital heart disease has been concentrated on that group of patients who survived this period, while a closer review of the autopsy material revealed that approximately 60% of these infants have lesions which are amenable to surgical therapy.
Among this group of 321 autopsies performed on infants with congenital heart disease under 1 year of age, approximately 15% had coarctation of the aorta as a portion of their anomaly. A review of this group of 46 infants (Table 1) reveals that 12 infants died within the first week of life from prematurity, tracheoesophageal fistula, or other noncardiac anomalies. Nine infants in