Cochrane Summaries

Trusted evidence. Informed decisions. Better health.

Angioplasty versus stenting for subclavian artery stenosis

Iared W, Mourão JEduardo, Puchnick A, Soma F, Shigueoka DCarlos
Published Online: 
15 May 2014

The subclavian arteries are two major arteries of the upper chest, below the collar bone, that come from the arch of the aorta. The left subclavian artery supplies blood to the left arm and the right subclavian artery supplies blood to the right arm, with some branches supplying blood to the head and chest. A history of smoking, high blood pressure, lower levels of 'good' (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol and peripheral arterial disease are associated with an increased risk of subclavian artery narrowing or stenosis. Subclavian artery stenosis is often without symptoms. Symptoms when they occur include short-lasting vertigo, commonly described as the environment spinning, due to decreased blood flow in the back part of the brain and blood circulation problems in the hands and arms.
Endovascular treatment for stenosis of the subclavian arteries includes angioplasty alone and with stenting. We could not find any randomised controlled trials in the medical literature that compared the effectiveness and safety of stent implantation with angioplasty alone for treatment of subclavian artery lesions. We conclude that there is currently insufficient evidence to determine whether stenting is more effective than angioplasty alone.