Thoracic outlet syndrome in females: A systematic review

Semin Vasc Surg. 2023 Dec;36(4):487-491. doi: 10.1053/j.semvascsurg.2023.09.003. Epub 2023 Sep 23.


Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a rare anatomic condition caused by compression of neurovascular structures as they traverse the thoracic outlet. Depending on the primary structure affected by this spatial narrowing, patients present with one of three types of TOS-venous TOS, arterial TOS, or neurogenic TOS. Compression of the subclavian vein, subclavian artery, or brachial plexus leads to a constellation of symptoms, including venous thrombosis, with associated discomfort and swelling; upper extremity ischemia; and chronic pain due to brachial plexopathy. Standard textbooks have reported a predominance of females patients in the TOS population, with females comprising 70%. However, there have been few comparative studies of sex differences in presentation, treatment, and outcomes for the various types of TOS.

Keywords: Females; Thoracic outlet syndrome.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brachial Plexus Neuropathies* / complications
  • Brachial Plexus*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Subclavian Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Subclavian Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome* / etiology
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome* / therapy