While many people associate a reversal of blood flow with the incompetence of venous valves and the development of varicose veins, reversal of blood flow isn’t isolated to the venous system. In fact, blood flow reversal can also develop in the arteries. This is what happens in steal syndrome. While steal syndrome can happen in a variety of locations, it most commonly occurs in the subclavian and vertebral arteries with potentially serious consequences.
Definition of Steal Syndrome
Steal syndrome is the reversal of blood flow in the vertebral artery when a patient has subclavian stenosis or occlusion on the same side of the body. This leads to blood flowing backward through the arm.
Anatomy of Steal Syndrome
Traditionally, blood flows down the subclavian artery and into the arm. However, when the subclavian artery is blocked, blood flows from the head into the vertebral artery to feed the subclavian artery.
Causes of Steal Syndrome
In subclavian steal syndrome, the subclavian artery is narrowed or blocked. This prevents blood flow down the subclavian artery. The arm still needs blood flow. As a result, blood from the vertebral artery flows in a retrograde direction (down from the head rather than up to the head). Patients may development of symptoms of poor cerebral perfusion.
Symptoms of Steal Syndrome
Symptoms typically include problems associated with poor cerebral perfusion such as:
- Fainting with arm use
- Dizziness with arm use
- Difficulty using the arm due to poor circulation
Diagnosis of Steal Syndrome
While ultrasound is sufficient to diagnose steal syndrome, computed tomography and angiography give more complete information. Angiography allows treatment at the same time as diagnosis.
Prevention of Steal Syndrome
Steal syndrome arises in people with atherosclerosis. Patients should make sure their cholesterol is checked as well as adequately treated. Patients who are diabetic should strive to keep blood sugar levels within normal limits.
Am I At Risk?
There are a variety of risk factors for steal syndrome. These include a history of diabetes, high cholesterol, peripheral arterial disease, coronary artery disease, and any other form of atherosclerosis.
Treatment of Steal Syndrome
Steal syndrome can be treated with open as well as endovascular techniques. Sometimes stent placement within the subclavian artery is all that is needed. Other times, improvement of cerebral blood flow with a carotid endarterectomy is more appropriate. Alternatively, the surgeon may need to perform a bypass if the vessel is severely damaged.
To learn more about treatment procedures for this condition please visit the following: Procedures We Do
Subclavian or Innominate Artery Endarterectomy
Steal syndrome can have serious consequences and deserves the attention of a superb vascular surgeon. Talented surgeons like Dr. Jenna Kazil spend years training and treating Steal syndrome. Patients in need of Steal syndrome treatment on Florida’s West Coast should locate a skillful vascular surgeon who has the surgical skills necessary to perform these serious surgical operations for the benefit of their patients. Dr. J. Kazil is a distinguished vascular surgeon who has developed an impressive track record of successful cases in treating Steal syndrome. Dr. Kazil understands the important circumstances that drive the treatment with the accuracy and compassion that everyone expects from an outstanding vascular surgeon.Jenna Kazil, MD, FACS, RPVI is the best surgical specialist working as a vascular and general surgeon seeing patients from South Sarasota to East Desoto and Hardee to North Hillsborough to West Manatee and Pinellas counties. Patients requiring Steal syndrome treatment should contact Dr. Kazil at the Florida Surgical Clinic located in Bradenton, FL today to schedule an appointment with a unique experienced doctor that possesses a unique blend of expert skills and compassionate care.