Heart and Blood Conditions

Vascular Rings Symptoms and Diagnosis

  • Schedule an appointment +

    • For appointments in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Federal Way, Olympia, Tri-Cities and Wenatchee, call 206-987-2515.
    • For appointments in Tacoma and Silverdale, call 253-272-1812.
    • For appointments in Alaska, call 907-339-1945.

    If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

  • Find a doctor +

  • Locations +

    • Seattle Children's Main Campus: 206-987-2515
    • Bellevue Clinic and Surgery Center: 425-454-4644
    • Everett: 425-304-6080
    • South Clinic in Federal Way: 253-838-5878
    • Olympia: 360-459-5009
    • South Sound Cardiology Clinics: 253-272-1812
    • Tri-Cities (Richland): 509-946-0976
    • Wenatchee: 509-662-9266
    • Pediatric Cardiology of Alaska: 907-339-1945
    • Seattle Children's doctors provide many cardiac services at regional sites throughout the Pacific Northwest. See our complete list of Heart Center locations.

  • Refer a patient +

    • If you are a provider, fax a New Appointment Request Form (NARF) (PDF) (DOC) to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • No pre-referral work-up is required for most conditions. If you have already done testing such as an EKG, Holter monitor or echocardiogram, please fax this information as well as relevant clinic notes and the NARF to 206-985-3121 or 866-985-3121 (toll-free).
    • Your patient will be seen as quickly as possible by the provider who is the best match for managing the current problem.
    • View our complete Heart Center Referral Information (PDF).

Symptoms of Vascular Rings

Most babies with vascular rings have symptoms from the pressure the rings put on their trachea and esophagus. Some children with vascular rings have no symptoms as babies. They may develop symptoms as they get older.

Pressure on the trachea can cause breathing problems, such as:

  • Loud breathing (stridor) or working hard to breathe
  • Wheezing or high-pitched cough
  • Infections in the lungs (respiratory infections) or repeated pneumonia

Breathing problems may get worse when a baby tries to feed or when an older child eats.

Pressure on the esophagus can cause feeding problems, such as:

Vascular Rings Diagnosis

To diagnose this condition, your doctor will examine your child and use a stethoscope to listen to their heart.

The doctor will ask for details about any symptoms your child has, their health history and your family health history.

Your child will need tests that provide more information. These may include chest X-rays, a CT (computed tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the heart and blood vessels, echocardiography, angiography, bronchoscopy (threading a camera down the throat to check the airways) and X-ray of the esophagus.

Contact Us

Contact the Heart Center at 206-987-2015 for a cardiac referral, a second opinion or more information.