Anomalies are difficult to detect in less severe cases as infants may not present any symptoms. However, in most instances the child may have:
- Frequent colds that do not clear up quickly
- Breathlessness when doing sport
In the most severe cases, symptoms may appear in the first year of life. There may be difficulty breathing which causes the baby to wheeze or breathe noisily, especially when they cry. If your baby shows this symptom, it is vital to seek advice from experts or professionals who can rule out the presence of vascular rings.
Diagnosis is carried out using tests such as an echocardiogram and a study of the aorta. Suspicions can also be confirmed with a CT angiogram, which will show the precise distribution of the blood vessels and their relationship to other structures such as the trachea and the oesophagus.
This anomaly can only be treated through surgery, which is performed without extracorporeal circulation except in the case of pulmonary slings. The procedure frees the compressed structures by repositioning or dividing the blood vessels causing the compression.
A bronchoscopy is performed as standard to assess the trachea and bronchi during surgery, and any changes are observed after the operation.
Following surgery children can lead a normal life.