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Curr Sports Med Rep. 2014 Mar-Apr;13(2):75-80. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000034.

Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome.

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1Steadman Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, Greenville Health Systems, Greenville, SC; 2Drisko, Fee, and Parkins, Independence, MO; 3University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville, SC; and 4Vascular Health Alliance, Greenville Health Systems, Greenville, SC.


Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome is a rare cause of shoulder pain due to compression of the subclavian or axillary artery within the thoracic outlet. It is the least common form of thoracic outlet syndrome but is potentially dangerous as it can result in significant morbidity. An athlete initially may present with exertional pain, early fatigability, a dull ache, or discomfort in the affected arm. History and physical examination are paramount in diagnosis, and imaging confirms the anatomy. Surgical repair or resection alleviates the compression of the affected structure and allows for a safe return to participation. Familiarity with this condition aids in the prompt diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.

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