Narrowing Down the Symptomatology of Isolated Vascular Rings in Children

Nicolle M. Ceneri, Manan H. Desai, Adam B. Christopher, Eleanor F. Gerhard, Steven J. Staffa, David Zurakowski, Karthik Ramakrishnan, Mary T. Donofrio

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Vascular rings may cause respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms due to compression of the trachea and/or esophagus. Advances in imaging have enabled early detection in asymptomatic patients posing new management dilemmas. Surgery is expected to relieve symptoms, although this has not been well studied. We sought to evaluate the presence and pattern of symptoms associated with vascular rings before surgical intervention and to detail symptom resolution after surgery. A 10-year retrospective review of patients diagnosed with an isolated vascular ring was performed between January 2010 and December 2019. 100 patients were identified; 35 double aortic arch (DAA) and 65 right aortic arch and left ligamentum arteriosum (RALL). 73 patients were symptomatic on presentation; 47 had respiratory, 5 had gastrointestinal, and 21 had both types of symptoms. Surgical repair was performed in 75 patients; 74 were symptomatic. Respiratory symptoms were more likely in patients with preoperative tracheal narrowing (p < 0.001). Moderate-severe respiratory symptoms led to surgery in RALL patients (OR 10.6, p = 0.0001). DAA patients were more likely to undergo surgery (p < 0.001) irrespective of symptom severity. At a median post-surgical follow-up of 4 months, there was a significant reduction in symptom burden (p < 0.001), except for asthma symptoms (p = 0.131). Symptom resolution was not dependent on the vascular ring anatomy (p = 0.331) or the age at operation (p = 0.158). Vascular rings are typically accompanied by respiratory symptoms and less commonly GI symptoms, both of which resolve in most patients after surgery. Those who present predominantly with asthma-like symptoms may not achieve resolution after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-425
Number of pages10
JournalPediatric cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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