Aortic arch syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms which are caused by structural abnormalities in the blood vessels that branch off the arch of the aorta, which is the top portion of this main artery carrying blood away from the heart. The three blood vessels that shoot off the arch of the aorta are the brachiocephalic artery, the left common carotid artery, and the left subclavian artery. Aortic arch syndrome is most often associated with trauma, blood clots, or malformations in these smaller arteries that develop before birth.
The structural abnormalities in the aortic arch branches cause a constriction or total occlusion of blood flow to the head, neck, or arms. As the aorta artery and its branches carry oxygen-rich blood, aortic arch syndrome gives rise to a variety of symptoms which include: blurred vision, dizziness, weakness, fainting, blood pressure changes, breathing problems, etc. In children, there are multiple types of aortic arch syndromes, including: congenital absence of a branch of the aorta, solation of the subclavian arteries, and vascular rings. Surgery is usually required to treat the underlying cause of aortic arch syndrome.