Arterial TOS is rare, but patients with arterial TOS can suffer severe complications. In most cases, patients with arterial TOS present with acute arterial occlusion. This results in severe loss of blood flow to the arm. Complications include gangrene of the affected area. Because of this risk, doctors must diagnose arterial TOS promptly and treat it as a surgical emergency.
Patients with arterial TOS present dramatically. The loss of blood flow to the arm creates a recognizable clinical picture, and doctors should recognize it immediately. Symptoms include loss of pulse, weakness, coldness of the arm, and pale color. Patients usually describe a sudden onset of these symptoms.
Once a doctor recognizes evidence of an arterial occlusion, he or she must act quickly. While a doctor cannot find the arterial blockage directly, he or she will see obvious secondary signs of absent blood flow in the arm. Occasionally, a doctor can find telltale tiny black spots on the fingers, or an aneurysm in the thoracic outlet.
Unfortunately, there is no laboratory test that contributes significantly to the clinical diagnosis of arterial TOS.
Fortunately for patients with neurogenic TOS, we are living in the golden age of medical imaging. And, while imaging of neurogenic TOS has lagged behind other imaging tests, imaging of TOS is now excellent and available. In general, there are many modalities used for imaging, ranging from x-rays to MRI. In specific, we will help you learn which tests are most applicable to your case.