Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Health Library Home>Disease, Condition, & Injury Fact Sheets>Article

Double Aortic Arch—Child

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 2 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

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Double aortic arch is a birth defect. The cause is not known.

Risk Factors

Risk factors are not well known.

Symptoms

A baby may have:

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

Diagnosis

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

The doctor will ask 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

Surgery can be done to tie off and close one of the extra branches. Symptoms may get better right away or over time.

Children will need lifelong monitoring by a doctor who treats the heart.

Prevention

There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.

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. Cove Point Foundation—Johns Hopkins University website. Available at: http://www.pted.org/?id=doubleaortic1. Accessed November 4, 2020.

Licari A, Manca E, et al. Congenital vascular rings: a clinical challenge for the pediatrician. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2015 May;50(5):511-524.

Vascular rings and slings. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/vascular-rings-and-slings. Accessed November 4, 2020.

Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD  Last Updated: 5/7/2021