Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Outcomes After Operative Treatment of Aberrant Subclavian Artery Pathologies and Suggested Reporting Items

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2022 May;63(5):759-767. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2022.02.027. Epub 2022 Feb 25.


Objective: To synthesise and present all available evidence regarding the surgical treatment of patients with aberrant subclavian artery (aSA) pathologies during the last 30 years. The study also aimed to create a checklist of suggested reporting items to help increase reporting homogeneity.

Methods: A systematic search of medical databases was performed to identify all studies published between 1990 and 2020 reporting on the outcomes of patients undergoing surgery for an aSA pathology. Patients were divided into two groups; Group A included patients undergoing open or hybrid surgery through sternotomy/thoracotomy and Group B included patients undergoing endovascular or hybrid treatment without chest access. The % crude rates (CR) of all variables of interest were calculated. A proportion meta-analysis was performed reporting pooled rates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: Three hundred and fourteen studies were identified reporting on the surgical outcomes of 732 patients (60.1% males; 440/732). The quality of evidence was generally low, with 286 studies including fewer than four patients and 28 studies with five or more cases. Aberrant right subclavian artery (aRSA) in a left sided aortic arch was present in 71.4% of the patients and a Kommerell's diverticulum was present in 50.1% of the cases. A total of 68% of the patients were symptomatic on presentation, with the majority complaining of dysphagia (49.6%). Group A included 453 and Group B 279 patients. Studies reporting on five or more patients were included in the main meta-analysis. The pooled early mortality rate was 1.62% (95% CI 0.05% - 4.53%) in Group A and 1.96% (95% CI 0 - 6.34%) in Group B. Pooled rates of symptom relief were 99.52% (95% CI 92.05% - 100.00%) in Group A and 95.79% (95% CI 83.96% - 100.00%) in Group B.

Conclusion: The surgical techniques used to treat aSA and aortic pathologies involving an aSA had remarkably low mortality rates and high clinical success, regardless of the technique used.

Keywords: Aberrant subclavian artery; Arteria lusoria; Dysphagia lusoria; Open aortic repair; Suggested reporting items checklist; TEVAR.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

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

Supplementary concepts

  • Aberrant subclavian artery