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Fetal echocardiographic markers to differentiate between a right and double aortic arch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-427
Number of pages9
JournalPrenatal Diagnosis
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jan 2022
Accepted/In press18 Jan 2022
E-pub ahead of print28 Jan 2022
PublishedApr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Van Poppel was supported by the Wellcome/EPSRC Centre for Medical Engineering (WT203148/Z/16/Z). Publisher Copyright: © 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

King's Authors


To describe the fetal echocardiographic features of a double aortic arch (DAA) and secondly, to assess the performance of these features to differentiate between a right aortic arch with left duct (RAA-LD) in a blinded cohort of vascular rings.

Review of records to identify surgically confirmed cases of DAA diagnosed prenatally from 2014 to 2018 (cohort-A). Prenatal echocardiograms were reviewed and the segments of the aortic arches anterior and posterior to the trachea, aortic isthmuses and the presence/absence of the Z-sign were described. The utility of these markers were assessed in a separate cohort (B) of fetuses with surgically confirmed cases of DAA or RAA-LD.

Cohort-A comprised 34 cases with DAA; there was a dominant RAA in 32/34 (94%) and balanced left aortic arch (LAA) and RAA in two cases. The proximal LAA was seen in 29/34 (85%), distal LAA in 15/34 (44%) and the LAA aortic isthmus in 4/34 (12%). The “Z” configuration was present in 29/34 (85%) cases. The most predictive marker for DAA in cohort-B was the Z-sign (sensitivity: 100%, specificity: 81%).

The “Z” sign is a useful differentiator between RAA-LD and DAA. The absence of visualization of the left aortic isthmus does not preclude the presence of a DAA.

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