The purpose of this study was to assess the incidence of and determine the types of steal phenomena occurring in the extracranial arteries of the head (common carotid artery [CCA], internal carotid artery [ICA], external carotid artery [ECA], vertebral artery [VA] and ophthalmic artery [OA]). A total of 3759 extracranial carotid artery sonographic examinations (7518 carotid arteries) of consecutive patients were reviewed. In every case an attempt was made to also evaluate the vertebral arteries. Reverse flow was found in 37 arteries in the examined regions in 36 patients. One of the most common findings was reversed flow in one of the VA as a sign of subclavian steal syndrome. This occurred in 17 cases (0.22%). The OA was examined in 15 cases when occlusion of the ICA was found in the neck region. In 14 (93.3%) of these cases the flow in the OA proved to be reversed. In 4 cases of occlusion of the CCA (0.05%) the ICA was fed through the main branch of the ECA, in which the flow was reversed. More rarely, in 2 cases (0.027%) both the CCA and ICA were occluded, and the main branch of the ECA was supplied through its dilated side branch, in which the flow direction was reversed. Colour and pulsed Doppler imaging are appropriate noninvasive methods for imaging these steal syndromes. Their diagnosis cannot only explain clinical signs, but can also lead to therapeutic consequences.
- Cerebral blood vessels
- Doppler studies
- Steal syndromes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging