Aortic arch defects occur in newborns when the main artery leaving the heart, called the aorta, does not develop properly before birth. Aortic arch defects sometimes have potentially fatal symptoms. Defects in the aortic arch may lead to compression of certain parts of the body such as parts of the throat, food-pipe (esophagus) or lungs. This can cause difficulty swallowing and feeding, breathing problems, or difficulty distributing nutrients and oxygen to the rest of the body by the blood. There are many potential variations of the defects causing the aorta to not travel in the normal correct pathway. Although some defects that do not cause symptoms can be monitored, these defect often need to be surgically corrected.