NEWS | August 16, 2018

Pediatric patient receives life-changing care for double aortic arch


When Elk Grove resident Brooke Peoples was 1 year old, she was diagnosed with a double aortic arch, a rare congenital cardiovascular malformation.

Photo of  Brooke Peoples
Brooke Peoples

With this condition, there is both a left and right aortic arch, which completely encircle the trachea and esophagus. In normal development, the right aortic arch should regress so the trachea and esophagus are free from compression. Because Brooke had both a left and right aortic arch, she had begun to experience difficulty swallowing solid food, resulting in poor weight gain. Brooke’s parents, Amber and Seth Peoples, noticed this change since Brooke had a twin sister, who was eating and growing just fine.

UC Davis pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Amy Rahm assessed Brooke’s condition and reviewed her echocardiogram. For further confirmation that Brooke’s symptoms were due to the double aortic arch, an esophagram was scheduled. This study confirmed that the esophagus was being constricted by the double aortic arch. Rahm recommended surgery to alleviate Brooke’s symptoms. The family also received a second opinion from another hospital that said Brooke shouldn’t have the surgery and should just wait.

The family carefully considered both options and decided to follow Rahm’s surgery recommendation.

“I’m so glad that we did. The procedure went so smoothly. It wasn’t like heart surgery. They cut the ring and stitched it off and healed so beautifully,” Amber Peoples said.  

Following surgery, Brooke no longer had any constriction in her trachea. No coughing or breathing difficulties. She was able to eat without problems and gain the weight that she needed. 

“Her symptoms are gone. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Start to finish, Dr. Rahm was amazing,” Peoples said. “They made a great decision.”

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children's surgery center. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. For more information, visit