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Airway management in vascular central airway obstruction: a literature review

  • Shih-Yi Lee1,2,†
  • Chuan-Lei Chao2,3,†
  • Sho-Ting Hung2,4
  • Hwee-Kheng Lim2,5,†
  • Hui-Chun Ku6

1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Taitung MacKay Memorial Hospital, MacKay Memorial Hospital, 104 Taipei, Taiwan

2Nursing, and Management, MacKay Junior College of Medicine, 11260 Taipei, Taiwan

3Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Taitung Mackay Memorial Hospital, 950 Taitung, Taiwan

4Department of Radiology, Taitung MacKay Memorial Hospital, 950 Taitung, Taiwan

5Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Taitung MacKay Memorial Hospital, 950 Taitung, Taiwan

6Department of Life Science, Fu Jen Catholic University, 242 New Taipei City, Taiwan

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2021.131 Vol.17,Issue 6,November 2021 pp.8-17

Submitted: 01 June 2021 Accepted: 01 July 2021

Published: 08 November 2021

*Corresponding Author(s): Hui-Chun Ku E-mail:

† These authors contributed equally.


Vascular central airway obstruction (CAO) is a rare cause of upper airway obstruction in adults. CAO occurs below the level where it is invisible in a laryngoscope. Doctors therefore should pay attention to the possibilities of vascular CAO when attempting to prevent and resolve catastrophic complications from upper airway obstruction such as cardiorespiratory collapse and hemoptysis, which requires a thoughtful preoperative planning of airway management before starting a surgical reconstruction.


Aneurysm; Aortic arch; Pulmonary artery; Difficult airway; Vascular rings

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Shih-Yi Lee,Chuan-Lei Chao,Sho-Ting Hung,Hwee-Kheng Lim,Hui-Chun Ku. Airway management in vascular central airway obstruction: a literature review. Signa Vitae. 2021. 17(6);8-17.


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Embase Embase (often styled EMBASE for Excerpta Medica dataBASE), produced by Elsevier, is a biomedical and pharmacological database of published literature designed to support information managers and pharmacovigilance in complying with the regulatory requirements of a licensed drug.

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