Fetal aberrant right subclavian artery in normal and Down syndrome fetuses




To evaluate the prevalence of fetal aberrant right subclavian artery (ARSA) in a low-risk population and compare it with that among Down syndrome fetuses, in order to estimate its potential as a marker in Down syndrome screening.


Women undergoing routine fetal sonographic examination between 13 and 26 weeks of gestation were evaluated once for the presence of ARSA using either a transvaginal multifrequency 5–9-MHz probe or a transabdominal 4–8-MHz probe as appropriate. Early pregnancy outcome was obtained in all cases.


Nine hundred and twenty-four fetuses were recruited. An ARSA was detected in 13 fetuses (1.4%) with normal karyotype. During the study period, eight fetuses with Down syndrome referred either with known karyotype or with signs suspicious for Down syndrome were evaluated by the same protocol. Three of eight fetuses (37.5%) were found to have an ARSA. In none of these cases was ARSA an isolated finding. The odds ratio for ARSA in Down syndrome compared with normal fetuses was 42.04 (95% CI, 9.08–194.6).


An ARSA was found in 1.4% of the normal population. In the small group of Down syndrome fetuses we observed a trend towards a higher rate of ARSA than in normal fetuses. In none of the Down syndrome fetuses was ARSA an isolated finding. Larger prospective studies are needed to examine the significance of ARSA as an isolated finding and the potential of ARSA as a marker in Down syndrome screening. Copyright © 2007 ISUOG. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.