Diagnosis and management of congenital vascular rings: a 22-year experience

Ann Thorac Surg. 1992 Apr;53(4):597-602; discussion 602-3. doi: 10.1016/0003-4975(92)90317-w.


Between 1968 and 1990, we operatively treated 39 patients (19 boys, 20 girls) with congenital aortic arch anomalies. Median age was 7 months (range, 1.5 months to 23 years). Thirty-seven patients (95%) had respiratory symptoms. Barium swallow was diagnostic in 95%. Right arch with aberrant left subclavian artery and double aortic arch were the most common types (11 each). Treatment of an aortic diverticulum was documented in 19 patients; the aortic diverticulum was excised (9), managed by aortopexy (7), or left in situ (3). Postoperative recovery was rapid, with a median intensive care unit stay of 2 days, time to oral feeding of 1 day, and postoperative time to discharge of 7 days. Two deaths occurred: 1 infant had undergone emergent operation for control of hemorrhage from an aortotracheal fistula due to tracheostomy tube erosion, and the other had multiple associated congenital heart defects. Postoperative complications included bleeding (1), pneumonia (5), and chylothorax (4). One boy had persistent severe symptoms due to an untreated aortic diverticulum and underwent subsequent excision of the aortic diverticulum with complete relief of symptoms. Median length of follow-up was 12.5 months, with at least 97% of survivors completely or nearly completely free of symptoms from the vascular ring. These results suggest that early repair of congenital aortic vascular rings, including fixating or excising an associated serious aortic diverticulum, is safe and effective and allows for normal tracheal growth.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aorta, Thoracic / abnormalities*
  • Aorta, Thoracic / diagnostic imaging
  • Aorta, Thoracic / surgery
  • Aortic Diseases / surgery
  • Brachiocephalic Trunk / abnormalities
  • Brachiocephalic Trunk / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Diverticulum / surgery
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Radiography
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology
  • Subclavian Artery / abnormalities
  • Subclavian Artery / surgery
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome