OBJECTIVES: Surgical repair of coarctation of the aorta (CoA) is often possible through left thoracotomy and without the use of cardiopulmonary bypass. Recent studies reporting the outcome after CoA repair through left thoracotomy are limited. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate the results of CoA repair through left thoracotomy in children who were operated on in our centre over the past 21 years. METHODS: From January 1995 to December 2016, 292 patients younger than 18 years underwent primary CoA repair through left thoracotomy at our 2 institutions. Peri- and postoperative data and follow-up data collected from our hospital and the referring hospitals were retrospectively reviewed. RESULTS: Median age at operation was 64 days (range 2 days-17 years). Most patients underwent the resection of the CoA followed by an (extended) end-to-end anastomosis (93%). Six patients died perioperatively and 2 more patients died during the follow-up, of which 7 patients had other major comorbidities. Actuarial survival was 97% at 5 years, 96% at 10 years and 96% at 15 years. Second arch interventions due to recoarctation were performed in 9.9% (n = 29) of patients, consisting of balloon dilatation in all but 2 patients. Recoarctation occurred significantly more often after initial repair in the neonatal period (21%) and could occur as late as 14 years after initial surgery. There were 7 re-recoarctations, and 14% of patients were on hypertensive medication during the follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: Repair of CoA through left thoracotomy is a safe procedure with low rates of mortality. The long-term follow-up is necessary due to the significant risk of recoarctation requiring reintervention.