Kommerell diverticulum

Kommerell diverticula occur in some anomalies of the aortic arch system. It usually refers to the bulbous configuration of the origin of an aberrant left subclavian artery in the setting of a right sided aortic arch. However, it was originally described as a diverticular outpouching at the origin of an aberrant right subclavian artery with a left sided aortic arch.

Clinical presentation

Kommerell diverticulum may be asymptomatic, or cause symptoms of oesophageal or tracheal obstruction.  

Radiographic features

Plain radiograph

On chest radiographs, a small rounded density may be seen laterally towards the left of the trachea.

Fluoroscopy: barium swallow

An impression can be seen from left side of oesophagus simulating a double aortic arch.


Typically shows bulbous enlargement of the proximal subclavian artery at its origin from the aortic arch, posterior to the oesophagus.

History and etymology

It is named after Burckhard F Kommerell, German radiologist (1901-1990).

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