Contemporary management of aberrant right subclavian arteries

William M. Stone, Joseph J. Ricotta, Richard J. Fowl, Nitin Garg, Thomas C. Bower, Samuel R. Money

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background: Aberrant origin of right subclavian arteries represents the most common of the aortic arch anomalies. This variant has few published series to guide management. Our goal was to review treatment options and results for these potentially complex reconstructions. Methods: A retrospective review was performed on all patients with a diagnosis of aberrant right subclavian artery at our institution between January 2003 and July 2009. Results: A total of 24 patients, which comprises one of the largest series reported, including 10 males and 14 females (mean age: 46.6 years, range: 7-77), were diagnosed with an aberrant right subclavian artery. Sixteen (66%) were diagnosed incidentally, but eight (33%) had symptoms of either dysphagia, upper extremity ischemia, or both. Computed tomography was most commonly used to establish the diagnosis (19 patients, 79%). Magnetic resonance imaging established the diagnosis in three patients (12%), upper gastrointestinal barium study in one (4%), and standard angiography in one (4%). A Kommerell's diverticulum (KD) was the most common associated anomaly (seven patients, 29%). All seven patients (100%) with a KD required intervention for either symptoms or aneurysmal degeneration. Intervention was performed in 10 patients (42%), including carotid subclavian bypass in five (50%), carotid subclavian transposition in three (30%), and ascending aorta to subclavian bypass in two (20%). Four patients (40%) had additional intervention for management of aneurysmal disease of the aorta or KD, with open aortic replacement in two (20%) and aortic endografting in two (20%). There was one perioperative death (10%) in a patient undergoing aortic arch debranching with placement of an aortic endograft. In all, 18 patients survived without symptoms after a mean follow-up of 38 months. Conclusions: Aberrant right subclavian arteries are most commonly found incidentally with computed tomography. The presence of a KD seemed to correlate with the need for intervention. Patients with no symptoms with the absence of a KD can safely be followed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)508-514
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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