Coronary subclavian steal syndrome

Marc Sintek, Edward Coverstone, Jasvindar Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Purpose of review Coronary subclavian steal syndrome (CSSS) is the reversal of blood flow in an internal mammary artery bypass graft that results in coronary ischemia. CSSS is an uncommon but treatable cause of coronary ischemia. In this review, we highlight the historical background and epidemiology of CSSS, common clinical presentations, diagnosis of CSSS and management strategies for relieving ischemia. We also present a case report to illustrate the complexity of CSSS and percutaneous management using current technology. Recent findings Most commonly, CSSS results from atherosclerotic stenosis of the subclavian artery and occurs in 2.5-4.5% of patients referred for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). All patients referred for CABG should have bilateral noninvasive brachial blood pressures checked to screen for the underlying subclavian stenosis. A review of 98 case reports with 128 patients demonstrated a diverse clinical presentation of CSSS, including acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina and acute systolic heart failure. Resolution of CSSS symptoms has been reported with both surgical and percutaneous revascularization. Long-term patency with either revascularization strategy is excellent. Percutaneous revascularization is largely considered the first-line therapy for CSSS and can be safely performed prior to CABG to prevent CSSS. Summary CSSS should be suspected in patients presenting with angina, heart failure or myocardial infarction after CABG. Successful amelioration of CSSS symptoms can be safely and effectively performed via percutaneous revascularization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-513
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cardiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2014


  • Coronary subclavian steal syndrome
  • Subclavian steal
  • Subclavian stenosis


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