Aberrant right subclavian artery (arteria lusoria) diagnosed during transradial coronary catheterization
Letter to the Editor

Aberrant right subclavian artery (arteria lusoria) diagnosed during transradial coronary catheterization

Mahmoud Abualayem, Amer Hawatmeh, Muhammed Shittu, Fayez Shamoon

Department of Cardiology, Saint Michael’s Medical Center, New York Medical College, New Jersey, USA

Correspondence to: Amer Hawatmeh, MD. 111 Central Avenue, Newark, New Jersey 07102, USA. Email: amer_hawatmeh@hotmail.com.

Submitted Apr 20, 2016. Accepted for publication May 03, 2016.

doi: 10.21037/qims.2016.05.02

Aberrant right subclavian artery, or arteria lusoria, is the most common aortic arch anomaly. It is an uncommon condition, with an incidence of 0.2–1.7% (1). In this disorder four vessels arise sequentially from the aortic arch: the right common carotid artery, the left common carotid artery, the left subclavian artery and the aberrant right subclavian artery, which crosses upwards and to the right in the posterior mediastinum. It results from a disruption in the complex remodeling of the paired branchial arches, typically of the right dorsal aorta distal to the sixth cervical intersegmental artery (2,3). Arteria lusoria is usually asymptomatic; however, more cases are diagnosed nowadays with increasing the use of transradial access to perform coronary angiography (2).

A 65-year-old male with a history of hypertension, diabetes, and a recent inferior wall ST-elevation myocardial infarction. The patient was scheduled for a staged percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for the non-culprit lesions after a primary PCI of the right coronary artery was performed through a transfemoral approach. The second procedure was first attempted using the transradial approach through the right radial artery. After right radial access was obtained, a 6-French (Fr) sheath was inserted without any difficulty. However, it was noted that the guidewire (0.35/150 3 mm J Fixed Core) could only be advanced to the descending aorta, and repeated attempts failed to enter the ascending aorta. Therefore, aberrant right subclavian artery (arteria lusoria) was suspected. This was confirmed by performing angiography near the origin of the right subclavian artery, which showed the right subclavian artery arising from the descending aorta just at the junction with the arch (Figure 1). Since it will be very difficult to get to the ascending aorta through the aberrant right subclavian artery, this approach was abandoned and the decision was to go for a left transfemoral approach, and the procedure was completed without any difficulty. Using the transfemoral approach an arch aortogram was also performed, which showed the right carotid, left carotid, and left subclavian arteries arising from the arch as separate branches, and then we simultaneously had a wire and a pigtail catheter in the right subclavian artery and aortic arch, which helped to better delineate the abnormality and confirmed the diagnosis (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Angiographic findings. (A) Abnormal origin of the right subclavian artery (RSCA) from the descending aorta (DA) instead of the right innominate artery; (B) arch aortogram performed via the descending aorta using pigtail catheter through transfemoral approach showing the right common carotid (RCA), left common carotid (LCA), and left subclavian (LSA) arteries arising from the arch as separate branches; (C) a guidewire in the RSCA through transradial approach (black arrow) and a pigtail catheter in the Aortic arch through transfemoral approach (white arrow); (D) angiography near the origin of the right subclavian artery, showing the right subclavian artery arising from the descending aorta.

The diagnosis should be suspected if the guide wire repeatedly enters the descending aorta rather than the ascending aorta from the right subclavian artery. In such a case, catheterization of the ascending aorta may be difficult or even impossible due to the angular course of the arteria lusoria to the ascending aorta. Although technically difficult, it is still possible to continue the procedure without switching to the femoral artery approach if the physician is aware of such a variant (4). However, only 60% of the cases were performed successfully using the transradial approach in the settings of arteria lusoria (5), and usually the catheterization of both coronary arteries becomes more difficult, takes longer time, and requires more catheters. In addition, caution should be taken, as dissection of an arteria lusoria and aorta during transradial catheterization has been previously reported (6,7).




Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Cite this article as: Abualayem M, Hawatmeh A, Shittu M, Shamoon F. Aberrant right subclavian artery (arteria lusoria) diagnosed during transradial coronary catheterization. Quant Imaging Med Surg 2016;6(3):328-330. doi: 10.21037/qims.2016.05.02