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Coronary steal syndrome




Cardiovascular system

Vascular disorders
Congenital heart defects
Cardiac arrhythmias
Valvular disorders
Heart failure
Cardiac infections
Pericardial disorders
Cardiac tumors
Cardiovascular system pathology review

Coronary steal syndrome


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High Yield Notes
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Coronary steal syndrome

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External References

Content Reviewers:

Viviana Popa, MD

Coronary steal syndrome is a condition that occurs due to dilation of coronary arteries in the presence of coronary artery disease, which is when there’s a partial or complete blockage in the lumen of another coronary artery.

The result is a redirection of blood flow from heart muscle supplied by the blocked artery, to other regions of the heart.

Coronary steal syndrome is a finding observed during a pharmacological cardiac stress test, which is used to diagnose coronary artery disease.

Now, the heart pumps out blood for all of our organs and tissues to use - but the heart also needs blood.

So it also pumps blood to itself, through the coronary arteries on the outside of the heart.

And coronary arteries are linked to one another through teeny tiny blood vessels called collateral vessels, which are normally in an inactive state, meaning blood doesn’t flow through them.

Now, with coronary artery disease, there’s ischemia, or reduced blood flow to the region of myocardium supplied by that artery.

In this context, collateral circulation may become active. For example, let’s say two coronary arteries,

A and B, are linked by a collateral vessel, and coronary artery B has developed a block.

As a result of ischemia, in the myocardium supplied by coronary artery B, the myocardial cells don’t receive enough oxygen, which is called hypoxia.

In response to hypoxia, myocardial cells release signalling molecules called cytokines, which cause dilation of the segment of coronary artery B beyond the blockage.