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Vasc Med. 2011 Feb;16(1):29-34. doi: 10.1177/1358863X10384174. Epub 2010 Nov 15.

Subclavian artery stenosis: a review for the vascular medicine practitioner.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0103, USA.


Peripheral artery disease assessment typically focuses on the evaluation of lower extremity symptoms and physical findings. Few practitioners consider the importance of upper extremity arterial disease; which, besides causing hand and arm symptoms, can be associated with significant neurologic and cardiac sequelae. A review of the existing literature through PubMed using the search term 'subclavian stenosis' was performed. The latest original articles, including clinical studies, case reports and limited reviews of this topic were adapted. A comprehensive article review focusing on the diagnostic and treatment approach for subclavian stenosis was prepared. In conclusion, vascular medicine practitioners including cardiologists and vascular surgeons caring for patients with arterial disease should routinely assess for subclavian stenosis. There are excellent screening tools and effective medical therapies which can be instituted if diagnosed early. When the need for revascularization arises, percutaneous modalities are favored given their proven long-term efficacy, decreased morbidity and mortality, and cost-effectiveness.

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