Persistence of aerodigestive symptoms after vascular ring repair

Doris Farje, Ashley Young, Eli Stein, Osama M. Eltayeb, Saied Ghadersohi, Inbal Hazkani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Vascular rings are often associated with respiratory and swallowing difficulties due to tracheal or esophageal compression. While the results of a vascular ring repair are considered excellent, the long-term effect of tracheal and esophageal remodeling and the persistence of symptoms have scarcely been reported. Our study aims to evaluate the respiratory and swallowing outcomes of vascular ring repair. Study design and methods: A retrospective cohort study of children who underwent vascular ring repair between 2010 and 2022 in a tertiary-care children's hospital. Results: There were 108 patients enrolled: sixty-three patients (57.41 %) with a right aortic arch, 42 patients (38.89 %) with a double aortic arch, and 3 patients (2.78 %) with other vascular rings. Forty-three (39.81 %) patients were diagnosed prenatally. Of the 65 patients (60.19 %) diagnosed postnatally, 35/65 (53.85 %) had either respiratory or swallowing symptoms as the indication for diagnostic workup. Persistent respiratory and swallowing symptoms were noted in 34/108 (31.48 %) and 30/108 (27.78 %) patients, respectively, within a year of surgical repair. Fourteen patients underwent repeated laryngoscopy and bronchoscopy that demonstrated residual tracheomalacia; however, only 2/14 (1.9 %) patients required tracheostomy tube placement, and 6-out-of-7 patients were weaned off positive pressure airway support. Persistent respiratory symptoms were significantly more common in patients with a double aortic arch compared to a right aortic arch. No differences were noted in demographics, comorbidities, and preoperative aerodigestive symptoms between patients with residual symptoms and patients with no residual symptoms. Conclusions: Persistent respiratory and swallowing symptoms after vascular ring repair are not uncommon. Postoperative evaluation should be pursued by a dedicated team, and treatment considered as appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104147
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2024


  • Aerodigestive symptoms
  • Double aortic arch
  • Dysphagia
  • Persistent symptoms
  • Right aortic arch
  • Stridor
  • Vascular ring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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