Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: The Daily PANCE Blueprint

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: The Daily PANCE Blueprint

A 42-year-old male presents with right upper extremity numbness, dysesthesia, weakness, and arm pain with exertion. The symptoms are aggravated by activity and reaching overhead. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?

A. Thoracic outlet syndrome
B. Median nerve compression
C. Biceps tendon rupture
D. Carpal tunnel syndrome
E. Subclavian steal syndrome

Answer and topic summary

The answer is A. Thoracic outlet syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) refers to a constellation of signs & symptoms that occur due to compression of the neurovascular bundle in the space of the thoracic outlet. Causes include trauma, repetitive injuries, anatomical defects, and pregnancy. The clinical presentation depends on what is being compressed (i.e., nerve, vein, and/or artery), but may include the following: pain, numbness, weakness, muscle weakness, fatigue, swelling, or coldness. Often these symptoms are aggravated by activity or raising the arm overhead. Diagnostic tests include ultrasound, x-ray, CT scan, EMG, MRI, etc. Treatment options depend on what type of TOS the patient has (e.g., physical therapy for neurogenic TOS).

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