Lahey Health is now part of Beth Israel Lahey Health.  Explore Lahey locations below or reach Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Beverly Hospital and Winchester Hospital.

by Kassir K

Definition

Double aortic arch is a type of vascular ring heart defect. A large artery called the aorta branches into right and left tubes, instead of just being one large tube. The two tubes can circle around and press the airways and the tube that brings food from the mouth to the stomach (esophagus).

Heart Chambers and Valves
heart anatomy
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Blood Flow Through the Heart
IMAGE
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Double aortic arch is a birth defect. This means that the baby is born with it. The cause is not known.

Risk Factors

Risk factors are not well known.

Symptoms

Your baby may have:

  • Problems breathing
  • Lung infections
  • Poor feeding, such as choking
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Vomiting

Diagnosis

It may be noticed in infancy, but it is often found later.

You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

Pictures may be taken of your child’s body. This can be done with:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best plan for your child. Options are:

Surgery

If your child is having symptoms like problems breathing, surgery will be done. The goal is to tie off and close one of the extra branches. Symptoms may get better right away or get better over time.

Lifelong Monitoring

Your child will have regular exams from a heart specialist.

Prevention

Double aortic arch can’t be prevented.

RESOURCES

American Heart Association  http://www.heart.org 

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics  http://www.healthychildren.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cardiovascular Society  http://www.ccs.ca 

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada  http://www.heartandstroke.com 

References

Double aortic arch. Johns Hopkins University, Cove Point Foundation website. Available at: http://www.pted.org/?id=doubleaortic1. Updated January 24, 2017. Accessed June 28, 2018.

Vascular rings and slings. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T921223/Vascular-rings-and-slings  . Updated November 9, 2017. Accessed June 28, 2018.

Revision Information