B-Mode Sonographic Assessment of the Posterior Circumflex Humeral Artery: The SPI-US Protocol—A Technical Procedure in 4 Steps

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Abstract

Elite overhead athletes are at risk of vascular injury due to repetitive abduction and external rotation of the dominant arm. The posterior circumflex humeral artery (PCHA) is prone to degeneration, aneurysm formation, and thrombosis in elite volleyball players and baseball pitchers. The prevalence of PCHA-related thromboembolic complications is unknown in this population. However, the prevalence of symptoms associated with digital ischemia is 31% in elite volleyball players. A standardized noninvasive imaging tool will aid in early detection of PCHA injury, prevention of thromboembolic complications, and measurement reproducibility. A standardized vascular sonographic protocol for assessment of the proximal PCHA (SPI-US protocol [Shoulder PCHA Pathology and Digital Ischemia–Ultrasound protocol]) is presented.

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