Services & Specialties
Vascular Ring and Aortic Uncrossing Program

Expert Care for Complex Recurrent Vascular Rings and Aortic Uncrossing

The Vascular Ring and Aortic Uncrossing Program provides expert care from a leading team of pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons, otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat specialists, or ENTs) and pulmonary and gastrointestinal specialists. Our surgeons are some of the world’s most experienced experts in performing complex and recurrent vascular ring repairs and aortic uncrossings for circumflex aortas. Patients travel from around the country and beyond to see us.

We are passionate about providing comprehensive, well-coordinated care for a variety of conditions, including complicated vascular rings, recurrent vascular rings, dysphasia lusoria (left aortic arch and aberrant right subclavian artery), aortic arch conditions (for example, circumflex aorta, “criss-cross” aorta) and more.

When you come to us for care, your child sees the specialists they need to correct their airway and gastrointestinal symptoms and vascular condition. As a high-volume center, we perform more aortic uncrossing repairs than any other hospital in the region and have one of the highest volumes in the country. This experience means better care for your child.

Why Choose the Vascular Ring and Aortic Uncrossing Program

  • Our surgeons have years of experience caring for children with complex vascular ring and circumflex aorta, also called criss-cross aorta. Our team includes Carl Backer, MD, the world’s leading expert in vascular ring and aortic uncrossing repair, plus leaders in the field who regularly publish research about their advancements.
  • Our specialists collaborate with ENT airway and pulmonary experts. We plan and perform procedures together to give your child the best possible care.
  • Your child will receive the most efficient and safest procedure thanks to our imaging expertise. We use 3D imaging and 3D reconstruction to diagnose and plan treatments. For complex cases, our surgeons are the only ones nationally to use actual virtual reality to understand each patient’s individual anatomy and create a surgical plan. 
  • Experts in our new 25-bed CICU and 24-bed step-down unit provide care for your child around the clock. Our intensivists are dually trained in cardiac and intensive care. The expert care we offer during recovery helps most patients to go home within two to five days after their procedure.
  • You’ll find everything your child needs under one roof in our kid-friendly environment. Your child and your family get access to any type of care you need. The care team includes anesthesiologists, cardiac operating room (OR) nurses, perfusionists and many other technical specialists.
  • We include patients and families in treatment decisions—you are an integral part of your child’s care team.
  • Our nationally recognized physicians provide second opinions for families. A second opinion from one of our nationally renowned specialists can help you make informed, confident decisions about your child’s care.

Expertise for Patients with Previous Repairs and Ongoing Symptoms

One of our main focuses is to successfully relieve persistent symptoms for patients who have already had vascular ring repair. Because of our dedicated, multidisciplinary team, we see patients from across the country who continue to struggle with their pulmonary or gastrointestinal symptoms. We are proud to partner with patients and families and can identify the cause(s) of those persistent symptoms, which are sometimes a surgical issue but could be airway, pulmonary or gastrointestinal issues as well. This highlights the importance of our team having cardiac surgeons and ENTs, as well as pulmonary and gastrointestinal specialists.