Subclavian steal syndrome

Subclavian arterial disease

If you are experiencing problems with subclavian steal syndrome our cardiology experts can help to treat you

About subclavian steal syndrome

Subclavian steal syndrome occurs when arteries in your heart, diverge from the aortic arch and become blocked. The aortic arch sits at the head of the main artery to the heart. This may also cause structural complications for your arteries as a result. Your consultant may recommend surgery to correct this upon diagnosis.

Need to know

  • What are the symptoms of subclavian steal syndrome? icon plus

    Symptoms you may have include:

    • Upper extremity claudication (weakness, fatigue or pain in the arm area)
    • Skin discoloration
    • Blood pressure changes
    • Neurological changes such as dizziness or blurred vision
    • Breathing problems
    • Reduced pulse
  • Diagnosing subclavian steal syndrome icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you.

    The following tests can be carried out if they suspect you may have subclavian steal syndrome:

    • Physical examination to assess general health, including bloody pressure and arm movement.
    • Ultrasound imaging to help determine the extent of arterial blockage
    • Angiography to monitor blood vessels. A special dye is inserted into your blood. The vessels will then be visible on X-Ray.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Your consultant will discuss your treatment options and help determine the best possible approach for you. These might include:

    • An angioplasty. Your surgeon will carefully inflate a small balloon inside your artery to open its walls. A stent can be inserted to help keep the artery open and limit blockage
    • An endarterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the plaque (fatty deposits) blocking or narrowing your affected artery. This allows blood to flow more freely through the aortic arch

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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