Pulmonary artery sling: Results of surgical repair in infancy

C. L. Backer*, F. S. Idriss, L. D. Holinger, C. Mavroudis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Pulmonary artery sling is a rare congenital vascular anomaly in which the left pulmonary artery originates from the right pulmonary artery and encircles the right main-stem bronchus and distal trachea before entering the hilum of the left lung. This causes compression of the trachea and right main-stem bronchus, and most infants with this anomaly have severe respiratory distress within the first year of life. Between 1953 and 1990 12 infants (nine male, three female) underwent surgical repair of pulmonary artery sling. Ages ranged from 8 days to 9 months (mean age 5 months). Bronchoscopic examination was performed in all patients. Complete tracheal rings were the most common associated lesion (five patients). Nine patients had pulmonary angiography. Most recently, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging have been used to diagnose pulmonary artery sling and associated complete tracheal rings when present. Surgical repair consisted of transection of the left pulmonary artery at its origin and implantation into the main pulmonary artery anterior to the trachea via right thoracotomy (one), left thoracotomy (six), or median sternotomy (five). Three patients had simultaneous pericardial patch tracheoplasty for complete tracheal rings. There were no operative deaths. Two late deaths occurred, at 7 months and 2.5 years postoperatively. Of 10 long-term survivors nine have had postoperative studies to determine the patency of the left pulmonary artery. Seven anastomoses were patent (78%). Pulmonary artery sling can be repaired in infancy with low operative mortality and excellent long-term patency of the left pulmonary artery by dividing the left pulmonary artery and implanting it into the main pulmonary artery anterior to the trachea. Simultaneous pericardial patch tracheoplasty should be performed if complete tracheal rings are associated. We recommend repair at the time of diagnosis with median sternotomy and extracorporeal circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-691
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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