Review of coronary subclavian steal syndrome

J Cardiol. 2017 Nov;70(5):432-437. doi: 10.1016/j.jjcc.2017.02.012. Epub 2017 Apr 14.


The clinical benefits of using the left internal mammary artery (LIMA) to bypass the left anterior descending artery are well established making it the most frequently used conduit for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). Coronary subclavian steal syndrome (CSSS) occurs during left arm exertion when (1) the LIMA is used during bypass surgery and (2) there is a high grade (≥75%) left subclavian artery stenosis or occlusion proximal to the ostia of the LIMA resulting in "stealing" of the myocardial blood supply via retrograde flow up the LIMA graft to maintain left upper extremity perfusion. Although CSSS was once thought to be a rare phenomenon, its prevalence has been underestimated and is becoming increasingly recognized as a serious threat to the success of CABG. Current guidelines are lacking on recommendations for screening of subclavian artery stenosis (SAS) pre- and post-CABG. We hope to provide an algorithm for SAS screening to prevent CSSS in internal mammary artery bypass recipients and review treatment options in the percutaneous era.

Keywords: Coronary artery bypass graft; Coronary subclavian steal syndrome; Left internal mammary artery; Subclavian artery stenosis; Subclavian steal syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiography / methods
  • Blood Pressure
  • Coronary-Subclavian Steal Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Coronary-Subclavian Steal Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Coronary-Subclavian Steal Syndrome* / physiopathology
  • Coronary-Subclavian Steal Syndrome* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Ultrasonography