Subclavian steal syndrome

Alternative names
Subclavian artery occlusive syndrome; Carotid artery occlusion syndrome; Aortic arch syndrome; Vertebral-basilar artery occlusive syndrome

Definition

The aorta is the large, main artery carrying blood away from the heart. Aortic arch syndrome refers to a group of signs and symptoms associated with structural abnormalities in the arteries that branch off from the aortic arch (the top portion of the aorta). The abnormalities are most often associated with atherosclerosis, trauma, blood clots, or malformations that developed before birth.

The arteries’ defects result in abnormal blood flow to the head, neck, or arms.

Symptoms
Symptoms vary according to the affected artery, but may include neurologic changes (such as dizziness, blurred vision, weakness, and transient ischemic attacks), blood pressure changes, reduced pulse, numbness of an arm, and others.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 7, 2012
by Sharon M. Smith, M.D.

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