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Arterial complications of thoracic outlet syndrome.

American Surgeon 2009 March
Arterial complications of thoracic outlet compression have serious potential implications; however, these complications rarely appear. Between 1990 and 2006, prospectively collected data on 27 patients with arterial complications of thoracic outlet syndrome were analyzed. The causes of arterial compression were cervical rib (20 [74.1%]), abnormalities of the first thoracic rib (three [11.1%]), soft tissue anomalies (two [7.4%]), and hypertrophic callus after clavicle fracture (two [7.4%]). In all cases, a combined supraclavicular and infraclavicular approach was used. Decompression was achieved by cervical rib excision in 13 (48.1%) patients, combined cervical and first rib excision in seven (26%), and first rib excision in six (22.2%). Associated vascular procedures included resection and replacement of the subclavian artery (26 [97.3%]), one subclavian-axillary and one axillary-brachial bypass as well as 17 (63%) brachial embolectomies. The mean follow-up period was 7 years 4 months (range, 1-16 years). Two pleural entries, two transient brachial plexus injuries, and one subclavian artery rethrombosis were found. Complete resolution of symptoms with a return to full activity was noted in all cases. In surgical treatment, a combined anterior supraclavicular and infraclavicular approach is recommended as well as transbrachial embolectomy in all cases with symptoms of distal embolization.

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