Outcomes of Surgical Repair of Vascular Rings and Slings in Children: A Word for the Asymptomatic

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Vascular rings (VRs) are rare aortic arch anomalies that may present with a wide variety of symptoms related to esophageal and/or airway compression. We reviewed our surgical experience in both symptomatic and asymptomatic children. All children (n = 58) who underwent surgical repair of VRs or slings (mean age 27.4±45.60 months; 36 males [62%]) between March 2000 and April 2020 were included. The most common anatomic variant was a right aortic arch (RAA) with aberrant left subclavian artery (ALSCA)(n = 29; 50%). Kommerell's diverticulum (KD) was present in 23 of these patients (79%). The second most common variant was a double aortic arch (DAA) (n = 22; 38%), followed by pulmonary artery sling (PAS) (n = 4; 6%), RAA with mirror image branching and left ligamentum arteriosum (n = 3; 5.2%), and left aortic arch (LAA) with aberrant right subclavian artery (ARSCA) (n = 1; 1.7%). One patient had a double ring with PAS and RAA with ALSCA. Symptoms were present in 42 patients (72%). Left lateral thoracotomy was the approach in 50 patients (86%), while sternotomy was used in 8 (14%). Symptomatic improvement occurred in the majority of symptomatic patients (93%). There was one perioperative mortality (1.7%) in the symptomatic group which was non-VR related. Morbidities included recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury in three patients (5.2%) and transient chylothorax in two (3.4%). Persistence/recurrence of symptoms resulted in one early and one late reoperation. The mean follow-up was 3±5 years. In the current era, VR repair in children including asymptomatic ones can be performed with excellent results. We recommend complete repair of RAA with aberrant LSCA by resection of KD and translocation of the ALSCA to avoid recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSeminars in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery
Early online dateSep 23 2020
StateE-pub ahead of print - Sep 23 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Aberrant subclavian artery
  • Dysphagia lusoria
  • Kommerell diverticulum
  • Right aortic arch
  • Vascular ring

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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