Vascular Ring
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How Is It Treated?

Treatment of this defect involves the division of the ligamentum arteriosum (LA in animation). In addition, Kommerell's diverticulum (KD) is usually removed from the left subclavian artery (also shown), which is then closed with sutures. These procedures break the constricting ring around the trachea and esophagus. With a double aortic arch, the left side of the arch is divided surgically to decompress the trachea and esophagus (see Double Aortic Arch tutorial).

Recovery from the repair of Vascular Ring depends on the nature of the defect and surgical procedure. However, it is usually uncomplicated, requiring a post-operative hospital stay of from 2 to 3 days.

In severe cases, it may take as long as one year for the trachea to assume normal shape after the constriction has been removed and normal swallowing may also take some time to be established. In extreme cases, persistent tracheal narrowing after repair may require tracheostomy, an opening in the neck that allows placement of a temporary breathing tube to keep the trachea open.