Influence of Fetal Diagnosis on Management of Vascular Rings

Elizabeth H. Stephens, Osama Eltayeb, Clare Kennedy, Cynthia K. Rigsby, Jeffrey C. Rastatter, Michael R. Carr, Michael C. Mongé, Carl L. Backer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Fetal diagnoses of vascular rings have been increasing. We compared management strategies and outcomes of infants with fetal diagnosis with those with postnatal diagnosis to inform recommendations regarding optimal management. Methods: A retrospective review was performed of vascular ring operations from January 2000 to June 2019. Standard demographic data (preoperative clinical status, timing of diagnosis, cross-sectional imaging, operative and perioperative details, and clinical outcomes) were collected. Statistical analysis was performed to compare characteristics and outcomes of fetal versus postnatal diagnosis. Results: Of 190 patients, 15% (n = 29) were diagnosed prenatally. Anatomic variants were double aortic arch (n = 66, 14 fetal diagnoses), right aortic arch, aberrant left subclavian artery (n = 94, 12 fetal diagnoses), circumflex aorta (n = 7, 1 fetal diagnosis), and pulmonary artery sling (n = 19, 2 fetal diagnoses). An increasing frequency of fetal diagnoses has been noted in the past 10 years. In 2012 1 of 9 patients (11%) had a fetal diagnosis, whereas in 2018 8 of 11 (72%) had a fetal diagnosis (P <.001). Patients with a fetal diagnosis were significantly younger at the time of surgery (13.1 months [interquartile range (IQR), 20.6] vs 24.0 months [IQR, 87.0], P =.029). There was no difference in postoperative complications or length of stay (3 days [IQR, 1] for fetal diagnoses vs 4 days [IQR, 3] for postnatal diagnoses, P =.50). Conclusions: Fetal diagnosis leads to the potential for expectant management of vascular ring patients. This has resulted in earlier time of intervention with no increase in postoperative morbidity. This may lead to improved long-term outcomes and potentially alter the natural history for these children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)630-636
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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