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The presentation and management of vascular rings: An otolaryngology perspective

International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2006.08.025
  • Stridor
  • Airway Compromise
  • Aortic Arch Anomalies
  • Vats
  • Thoracoscopic Vascular Ring Repairs
  • Vascular Ring
  • Medicine


Summary Objective To review the presentation and natural history of children with vascular rings and present management guidelines. Methods Retrospective study of tertiary care pediatric medical center charts from 1991 to 2002. Results There were 37 males and 27 females with a diagnosis of vascular rings. At presentation, 91% of patients had airway symptoms and 47% had esophageal symptoms. Airway symptoms included stridor (63%), recurrent respiratory infections (47%), respiratory distress (19%), and cough (17%). The most common esophageal symptom was dysphagia (27%). Pre-operative studies included: echocardiography (96%), chest X-ray (93%), barium swallow (75%), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (60%), and computerized tomography (CT) scan of the chest (59%). Surgical management included open ( n = 25) and thoracoscopic ( n = 39) approach. Complications included recurrent laryngeal nerve injury in five patients (8%). Conclusion Children with vascular rings present with respiratory and/or feeding difficulty. The evaluation should include chest X-ray, echocardiography, and barium swallow. Direct laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy are recommended to assess the degree of compression of the airway and/or esophagus, tracheomalacia, and vocal fold motion prior to intervention. Indication for surgical release is given when the diagnosis is made and can be assisted by advanced radiology studies. Surgical options include minimally invasive techniques involving either thoracoscopic or robotic-assisted repairs, as well as open procedures involving thoracotomy.

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