Background Surgical correction of complex aortic coarctation can be associated with significant risks. Extraanatomic bypass may represent a safer alternative. Methods Between January 1985 and December 2012, 80 consecutive patients with complex coarctation underwent ascending-to-descending aortic bypass through a median sternotomy. Patients were a median age of 42 years (range, 15 to 75 years), and 51 (64%) were males. Recurrent coarctation was present in 52 patients (65%), with 6 (8%) having undergone balloon dilatation. Uncontrolled hypertension was present in 63 patients (79%). The most common concomitant pathology was aortic valve stenosis in 21 patients (26%), subaortic stenosis in 10 (13%), and Shone complex in 4 (5%). Results There were no early deaths. The most common concomitant procedures were aortic valve replacement, coronary artery bypass grafting, and resection of subaortic stenosis. The mean aortic cross-clamp and cardiopulmonary bypass times were 33 ± 40 and 106 ± 54 minutes, respectively. Morbidity included atrial fibrillation in 17 patients (21%) and reexploration for bleeding in 6 (8%). There was no paraplegia or stroke. Upper extremity blood pressure significantly improved (p < 0.001). Mean systolic blood pressure decreased from 153 ± 26 mm Hg preoperatively to 123 ± 15 mm Hg postoperatively. Mean follow-up was 7 ± 6 years (maximum, 22 years). Late deaths occurred in 5 patients (6%) and were not graft-related. Three patients (4%) required reoperation for repair of periprosthetic regurgitation in 2 and mitral valve replacement in 1. Conclusions The ascending-to-descending aortic bypass can be performed with low morbidity and mortality. It is an effective solution to complex aortic coarctation and represents a safe single-stage approach for patients with concomitant cardiac pathology.