The aberrant subclavian artery: approach to management

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2020 Nov;35(6):636-642. doi: 10.1097/HCO.0000000000000793.


Purpose of review: Aberrant subclavian artery (ASCA) represents one of the most common congenital vascular anomalies of the aortic arch. The majority of ASCAs are associated with an aneurysm which occurs at their origin from the descending thoracic aorta, namely, the Kommerell's diverticulum. In this review, we discuss recent data with regards to indications of treatment and surgical management of these anatomical variants.

Recent findings: Various surgical methods have been described for the repair of ASCA and Kommerell's diverticulum. Traditionally, treatment included open surgery; however, recent studies describe a shift of conventional treatment to more hybrid or endovascular approaches. The heterogeneity in the anatomy and presentation of these clinical entities as well as patient-related factors have prevented conduction of randomized trials for the best available modality of treatment. This dearth of literature is well depicted in the current guidelines.

Summary: The optimal surgical procedure has to be tailored to every patient according to the presentation, individual anatomy, and patient's risk profile. Conventional surgery for ASCA and Kommerell's diverticulum has acceptable mortality and complication rates, whereas hybrid repairs report encouraging results. Further studies are required to provide sufficient evidence which will formulate a clear frame of treatment indications and optimal surgical methods, as well as evaluate long-term results following hybrid repair.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta, Thoracic / diagnostic imaging
  • Aorta, Thoracic / surgery
  • Cardiovascular Abnormalities* / surgery
  • Diverticulum*
  • Humans
  • Subclavian Artery / abnormalities
  • Subclavian Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Subclavian Artery / surgery

Supplementary concepts

  • Aberrant subclavian artery