Demonstration of vascular abnormalities compressing esophagus by MDCT: Special focus on dysphagia lusoria

Fatih Alper, Metin Akgun, Mecit Kantarci, Atilla Eroglu, Elvan Ceyhan, Omer Onbas, Cihan Duran, Adnan Okur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose: Dysphagia lusoria (DL) is described in the literature as difficulty in swallowing caused by vascular abnormalities. The most common cause is an aberrant right subclavian artery (SCA) which passes behind the esophagus and is also called arteria lusoria (AL). Our aim was to demonstrate the use of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) in the diagnosis of AL, as there is no comprehensive study investigating the role of MDCT in such cases. Material and methods: A total of 38 consecutive patients, comprising of 23 females (61%) and 15 males (39%), who had extrinsic compression were included in the study. These patients are selected from the cases who were admitted due to their gastrointestinal symptoms, such as dysphagia, epigastric pain, chronic nausea, vomiting, etc. The mean age of patients was 40 ± 25 years (range 15-65). Following barium esophagogram and then endoscopy performed, MDCT angiography was carried out on the same or the following few days. MDCT sections were examined to determine the following: presence of vascular abnormality; the diameter and angle of that vascular structure; and the compressed area of esophagus. Radiological findings and dysphagia scores were also compared. Results: In each of 15 cases, there was a compression due to vascular abnormality which were all located between the esophagus and the spine. There was an esophageal compression in each of 12 cases, due to right aberrant SCA, in one case due to right superior aortic arch and in two cases due to both right aortic arch and left SCA with Kommerell's diverticulum. The mean diameter and the angle of AL were 16.4 mm and 48.8°, respectively, and the mean area of pressured esophagus was 194.7 mm2. Dysphagia scores of the cases was 1 in thirteen cases and 2 in two cases. However, dysphagia scores were not correlated with these parameters. Conclusions: MDCT angiography is a useful diagnostic tool for evaluation of patients with dysphagia, especially caused by a vascular abnormality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-87
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dysphagia lusoria
  • Esophagus
  • MDCT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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