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Subclavian Steal Syndrome

Arch Surg. 1966;93(6):984-985. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1966.01330060128017.
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THE SUBCLAVIAN steal syndrome, first described by Contorni1 in 1960, thoroughly investigated by Reivich et al in 1961,2 and labeled by the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine ( 1961 )3 is potentially the most dangerous of the cerebrovascular arteriopathies which lead to cerebral ischemia and "stroke."4

It consists of occlusion or severe stenosis of the subclavian artery proximal to the origin of the vertebral artery which causes a reversal of the blood flow or siphoning of blood from the cerebral circulation to the distal subclavian artery. The results are intermittent episodes of vertebrobasilar insufficiency indicated by blurring of vision, dizziness, syncope, aphasia, as well as associated claudication and weakness of this arm.5 Santschi,6 in 1965, reviewed the world literature and found 74 proven cases of this syndrome. It would appear, with the further dissemination of knowledge regarding this syndrome, that many more "strokes"


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