DEFINITION OF THORACIC OUTLET SYSDROME
RICHARD J. SANDERS, M.D.
The simple definition of thoracic outlet syndrome is neurovascular symptoms in the upper extremities due to pressure on the nerves and vessels in the thoracic outlet area. The specific structures compressed are usually the nerves of the brachial plexus and occasionally the subclavian artery or subclavian vein.
E.W. POLLAK, M.D.
Symptoms and signs of thoracic outlet syndrome are due to the compression or irritation of the neurovascular bundle at the various levels of the cervico-auxillarv and thoraco-brachial passa2es.
Depending on the exact site of injury and the injury component of the neurovascular bundle, three distinct syndromes or a combination thereof may be encountered. One, neurological syndrome Two, arterial syndrome - Three, venous syndrome.
A careful history and physical examination leads to a positive diagnosis in most instances.
CARLOS A. SELMONOSKY, M.D.
The thoracic outlet, syndrome is a group of symptoms arising not only from the upper extremity, but also from the chest, neck, shoulders and head.
The symptoms are produced by a positional, intermittent compression of the brachial plexus and/or subclavian artery and vein and the vertebral artery.
The diagnosis is made easier by the physician's awareness and by use of the Selmonosky signs
during physical examination. (Elevation of the hands, supraclavicular tenderness, weariness of the 4th and 5th finger.)