Carotid Artery Disease/Stroke & Subclavian Steal Syndrome


Carotid Artery Disease

There are two carotid arteries in the neck, one on either side, which supply blood flow to the brain. These main common carotid arteries divide into two branches. The internal carotid artery branch supplies blood flow to the part of the brain which controls speech, personality, thinking, sensory (what you feel), and motor function (your movements). A disease free carotid artery is smooth which allows blood to flow through it freely. A diseased carotid artery is narrowed or blocked by atherosclerosis. A piece of plaque can break off from the carotid artery and block smaller arteries in the brain. This event may cause a Cerebral Vascular Accident/Stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA) and lead to brain damage or death.


Subclavian Steal Syndrome

Subclavian Steal Syndrome is a blockage of the subclavian artery which sits under the collarbone. It delivers blood to the arm and brain. The blockage causes the blood to flow in reverse. The arm "steals" blood flow from the blood which was intended for the posterior (back side) of the brain.


Signs & Symptoms

  • Slurred speech or difficulty talking or understanding words
  • Numbness or weakness of the face or body, usually effecting one side of the body
  • Inability to move your limbs
  • Visual problems; difficulty seeing in one or both eyes
  • Loss of balance
  • Severe headache which has a sudden onset dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Drop Attacks (a sudden spontaneous falling to the ground from a standing position, not usually associated with a loss of consciousness)