Investigation of vascular compression of the trachea: The complementary roles of barium swallow and echocardiography

M. Burch, S. Balaji, J. E. Deanfield, I. D. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


To determine the preferred investigation of congenital vascular compression of the trachea, preoperative investigation in 40 patients undergoing surgery 1981-91 was analysed. The importance of preoperative identification of detailed arterial anatomy in determining surgical technique was also assessed in 122 consecutive patients undergoing surgery 1952-91. Of the 40 patients (median age 5 months) seen 1981-91, barium swallow before referral suggested the diagnosis of vascular compression in 26 of 27 (96%). Angiography (1/3), bronchoscopy (0/6), and echocardiography (2/6) were generally unhelpful in diagnosing vascular compression before referral. Echocardiography was performed after referral in 18 consecutive patients since 1986 and the correct arterial anatomy was identified in 16 (88%); hyperinflation resulted in inadequate images in the two others. Barium swallow is the investigation of choice to screen for suspected vascular compression of the trachea; echocardiography at the referral centre can define the arterial anatomy in nearly all patients. Further investigation can be reserved for selected cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-176
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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