A patient seeking treatment for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may initially be unaware that May-Thurner syndrome (MTS) is a contributing factor. The National Institutes of Health estimate that MTS may be present in more than 20 percent of the population, but often goes undiagnosed and may not always cause symptoms.
When the left iliac vein in the pelvis is compressed by the right iliac artery, it may cause MTS, which is also referred to as iliac vein compression syndrome. It’s normal for the right iliac artery to cross over the left iliac vein due to the body’s anatomy, but when severe compression is present, it impedes the flow of blood, which can predispose patients to blood clots.
Not all patients who have MTS will have DVT, but it does increase the risk of DVT. The syndrome is three times more likely to occur in women than men and is usually found in the left leg, but can affect the right leg.
The diagnosis of May-Thurner syndrome may be made via an MRI, a CT scan, ultrasound, or other methods, and is typically diagnosed by an interventional radiologist. One often-used diagnostic technique is venography, which involves injecting dye into the vein and using X-rays to see compressed areas and compromised blood flow that may indicate a clot.
Treatment for May-Thurner syndrome is intended to resolve the risks that are associated with deep vein thrombosis, which may be life-threatening. Medications, such as blood thinners, may be prescribed, and clots can be removed in a number of surgical and minimally invasive procedures.
Coastal Vein Vascular Institute offers comprehensive vascular care. Our board-certified interventional radiologists provide safe, effective treatments for a full range of issues, including nonsurgical options. To learn more about May-Thurner syndrome or DVT, please contact us or request an appointment.