Thoracic outlet syndrome in females: A systematic review

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Seminars in vascular surgery

MeSH Headings

Humans; Male; Female; Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (diagnosis, etiology, therapy); Brachial Plexus; Brachial Plexus Neuropathies (complications); Subclavian Vein (diagnostic imaging); Subclavian Artery (diagnostic imaging)


Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a rare anatomic condition caused by compression of neurovascular structures as they traverse the thoracic outlet. Depending on the primary structure affected by this spatial narrowing, patients present with one of three types of TOS-venous TOS, arterial TOS, or neurogenic TOS. Compression of the subclavian vein, subclavian artery, or brachial plexus leads to a constellation of symptoms, including venous thrombosis, with associated discomfort and swelling; upper extremity ischemia; and chronic pain due to brachial plexopathy. Standard textbooks have reported a predominance of females patients in the TOS population, with females comprising 70%. However, there have been few comparative studies of sex differences in presentation, treatment, and outcomes for the various types of TOS.

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