Hand muscle atrophy and digital ischemia as an unusual presentation of an occluded aberrant right subclavian artery: Endovascular or open approach?

Int J Surg Case Rep. 2013;4(7):565-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2012.10.026. Epub 2013 Apr 18.


Introduction: An aberrant right subclavian artery (ARSA) or lusorian artery is one of the most common variations of the aortic arch. Although usually without symptoms, some ARSA's occasionally become symptomatic.

Presentation of case: A 51-year old woman presented with a painful right middle finger. Clinical examination showed thenar muscle hypotrophy and blue discoloration of the distal phalanx suggestive of embolization. Magnetic resonance angiography revealed a non-aneurysmal proximally occluded ARSA. A venous common carotid artery to subclavian artery bypass was combined with ARSA ligation proximal to the right vertebral artery.

Discussion: Occlusive symptomatic ARSA disease without aneurysmal dilatation is uncommon. Treatment may include bypass grafting by open surgery or angioplasty with stenting.

Conclusion: Treatment for occlusive non-aneurysmal ARSA must be tailored to the individual. Whether an endovascular or surgical approach is preferred depends on localization of the lesion in relation to the esophagus and on the general condition of the patient.