Vascular thoracic outlet in a competitive swimmer: a case report

University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA.
International journal of sports physical therapy 02/2013; 8(1):74-9.
Source: PubMed


Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a well-described condition resulting from compression of the brachial plexus, subclavian artery and/or vein. Though symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling and signs of muscular weakness associated with this condition usually begin insidiously, on rare occasions the presentation is of acute onset and may represent an acute vascular compression. An unusual form of "effort" thrombosis of the subclavian vein may require emergency care in order to ensure controlled clot lysis and thrombus dissolution. Confirmation of subclavian thrombus is obtained by venography and makes use of real time videography to assess for venous flow impairment. Definitive treatment for the underlying cause of this form of TOS is first rib resection and scalenectomy. This case report presents a competitive swimmer who developed an acute onset of limb cyanosis and turgidity during swim training. Awareness of the possibility of acute thrombosis obstructing venous return and producing such signs and symptoms should lead the astute clinician to consider recommending contrast venography to assess the lesion and lead to appropriate medical intervention.

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