Subclavian Steal Syndrome

Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of subclavian steal syndrome.  This is more common on the left side, due to a more acute origin of the left subclavian artery.  Subclavian steal syndrome is a constellation of signs and symptoms that arise from retrograde blood flow in the vertebral artery or the internal thoracic artery.  This is due to a proximal stenosis and/or occlusion of the subclavian artery. The arm may be supplied by blood flowing in a retrograde direction downward to the vertebral artery at the expense of the vertebrobasilar circulation. This is called the subclavian steal. It is more severe than typical vertebrobasilar insufficiency.

Back to Top of Page