Double aortic arch is a type of vascular ring heart defect. In a normal heart, the blood flows in from the body to the right atrium, goes into the right ventricle, and then goes to the lungs to pick up fresh oxygen. The blood returns to the left atrium, goes into the left ventricle, and goes out to the rest of the body through a large artery called the aorta.

With a double aortic arch, the aorta branches into right and left tubes, instead of just being one large tube. The two tubes can circle around and compress the airways and/or esophagus.

Heart Chambers and Valves
heart anatomy
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Blood Flow Through the Heart
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Double aortic arch is a congenital defect. This means that the baby is born with the condition. It is not known exactly why the heart develops abnormally in some babies.