n Cardiovascular Journal of Africa - Vascular rings : a radiological review of anatomical variations : cardiovascular topics

Volume 27, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1995-1892
  • E-ISSN: 1680-0745



The imaging modalities used to diagnose vascular rings have evolved over time, from basic radiographic studies to advanced cross-sectional imaging. The goal of preoperative imaging is to provide the surgeon with an accurate representation of the ring configuration so that the surgical approach may be planned.

We conducted a review of all patients with vascular rings who underwent surgery at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital, Durban, South Africa from 1 July 2008 to 1 July 2013.
Eight patients were diagnosed with vascular rings. Seven patients had an abnormal plain chest radiograph (right aortic arch, tracheal narrowing, or abnormal mediastinal silhouette), while in six patients the contrast oesophagogram demonstrated a fixed extrinsic oesophageal indentation. Computed tomography angiography confirmed the pathology in all cases, with six double aortic arches and two right aortic arches with aberrant left subclavian artery and left ligamentum arteriosum.
We advocate a diagnostic imaging algorithm consisting of plain chest radiography, contrast esophagogram and computed tomography angiography prior to surgery. Magnetic resonance imaging may provide an alternative axial imaging modality depending on institutional preference.

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