The main treatment for subclavian artery disease involves medical therapy and lifestyle changes. As subclavian artery blockages are usually caused from atherosclerosis, your health care professional may prescribe aspirin and cholesterol-lowering medications. These medicines can prevent the plaque buildup from getting worse over time.
At the same time, it is important to target other factors that can lead to plaque buildup. Smoking, or any nicotine use, should be stopped. If you smoke, quit. Controlling blood pressure and diabetes is important as well because both of these conditions are strongly linked to the risk of building up plaque. Following a heart-healthy diet and taking part in a regular exercise program are also very good habits to pick up.
Despite these treatments, many people with subclavian artery disease will experience symptoms such as arm fatigue, arm pain, or dizziness. In these instances, your health care professional may recommend treating the blockages with either angioplasty using stents or surgery. Stenting is a nonsurgical, less invasive technique that involves inserting a small tube called a catheter through an artery in the arm or leg. Through the catheter, a stent is placed across the blockage to restore normal flow.
Most subclavian blockages can be treated with stents, but in some cases, surgery may be needed. With surgery, blood flow is rerouted across the blockage using a small plastic tube called a bypass graft. Both stents and surgery are highly effective treatments and often help symptoms improve.