Anatomic reconstruction of recurrent aortic arch obstruction in children

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Anatomical reconstruction of the aortic arch following aortic arch surgery is challenging. The placement of an extra-anatomical aortic bypass has been proposed for these difficult cases. This approach is not ideal in children due to possible long-term complications. This study presents the results of our policy to reconstruct the aortic arch in recurrent obstruction in children, which are not amenable to balloon dilatation.


Seven children with a median age of 8 years (range 1 month-15 years) were operated for aortic arch obstruction following correction of an aortic coarctation. Six children presented another intra-cardial lesion (2 subaortic membranes; 2 VSDs, 1 ostium stenosis of the left main coronary artery, and 1 mitral valve insufficiency). The surgical approach involved a sternotomy, cardiopulmonary support using two arterial inflow cannulas (one above and one below the aortic arch), and moderate hypothermia. Enlargement of the aortic arch was performed by a sliding plasty in four patients and by a patch plasty in three patients. Associated cardiac defects were corrected as well.


It was technically possible to perform the planned operation in all patients. All patients survived and none presented significant postoperative complications. There were no residual gradients in six patients and a gradient of 10 mmHg in one patient postoperatively. One patient showed transient recurrent nerve palsy which recovered within 6 weeks. Follow-up echocardiographic and MRI studies revealed a normal appearing aortic arch with laminar flow.


Although more demanding, an anatomical reconstruction of the aortic arch can be performed in infants and children with recurrent obstruction of the aortic arch with excellent initial results. This approach may prove superior to an extra-anatomic bypass in the long-term.

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