Vascular Ring | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of a vascular ring?

As their name suggests, vascular rings are caused by malformed blood vessels. But the vessels themselves aren’t really the issue, and some people without symptoms may live their entire lives not even realizing that they have a vascular ring. Instead, symptoms occur when a vascular ring puts pressure on a child’s esophagus, trachea, or both. Symptoms range widely depending on the severity of the compression and can include:

Children with vascular rings often also have an airway disorder called tracheomalacia. In this condition, the trachea narrows or collapses when your child exhales, which makes it feel hard to breathe and may lead to a vibrating noise or cough. Like vascular rings, tracheomalacia can be present at birth, or it can develop in response to vascular rings or other anomalies.

What causes a vascular ring?

Normally, the aorta develops from one in a series of symmetrical arches. By the end of the second month of fetal development, the other arches are naturally broken down or formed into arteries. When a vascular ring occurs, certain arches that should have disappeared still remain and form a ring structure.