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May Thurner Syndrome

May Thurner Syndrome

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Dr. Manu B. Aggarwal and her expert staff at the Vein Care Center serve patients in Celina, Lima, Bluffton and Findlay, as well as the surrounding areas of Auglaize County, Ohio. If your legs have been causing you unexplained discomfort, schedule a consultation with Dr. Aggarwal to get the right diagnosis, proper treatment and a new lease on life. They

What is May-Thurner Syndrome?

May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS)—also known as iliac vein compression syndrome, iliocaval compression syndrome or Cockett syndrome—occurs when the right iliac artery pinches the left iliac vein. The compression of the vein can disrupt blood flow from the leg back to the heart.

If you could peer through your abdomen, you would see two upside-down “Y’s” that are the major paths of blood movement between the lower extremities and the heart. The iliac artery carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart and into the lower extremities. It holds an anterior position, meaning that it is situated closer to the abdomen, or front of the body. The iliac vein carries blood from the legs back to the heart and has a posterior position closer to the spine. Due to the positioning, with the right iliac artery overlaying the left iliac vein in a slightly off-center fashion, the left iliac vein can become pinched between the spine and the right iliac artery, causing MTS.

What are the Symptoms of May-Thurner Syndrome?

MTS is often missed in patients because the actual compression of the left iliac vein exhibits few, if any, symptoms. However, the compressed vein can cause blood to pool in the legs and can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, in this case, the iliac vein. DVT can partially or entirely block the flow of blood in the vein and can be life-threatening if the clot dislodges and moves to the lungs. Pooling blood and the formation of a blood clot can mimic symptoms of other venous insufficiency problems, including:

  • Leg cramps
  • Achy legs
  • Pain when standing
  • Less pain when in a resting position and legs are elevated
  • Leg or ankle swelling
  • Skin texture changes
  • Skin discoloration
  • Leg cramps
  • Heavy feeling in the legs

While there are many shared symptoms in vein disease, MTS is more common in the left leg. Thus, if a patient has symptoms predominantly in their left leg, that can be an indication of MTS. Also, if one leg is substantially larger than the other leg, MTS may be present.

What are the Risk Factors Associated with May-Thurner Syndrome?

Because MTS is frequently misdiagnosed or missed altogether, there are no definitive risk factors for developing MTS known at this time. However, patients that have been diagnosed with MTS tend to be women more often than men and share these traits:

  • Between the ages of 20 and 40
  • Have blood clotting disorders
  • Post-pregnancy
  • Use oral hormone contraceptives
  • Suffer from scoliosis (a spine condition that creates a dramatic “S” curve in the spine)
  • Prolonged exposure to radiation

What Treatment Options are Available for May-Thurner Syndrome?

Treatment for MTS depends on the severity of its progression. In mild cases, it is recommended that patients wear compression garments. For more severe cases of MTS, treatment options include:

  • Thrombolysis: injecting a medication into the vein to break down the blood
  • Angioplasty: inserting a deflated “balloon” into the compressed area of the iliac vein and then inflating the balloon to widen the vein
  • Stent: placing a tube inside of the iliac vein to hold it open and prevent it from becoming pinched again

MTS is often overlooked and misdiagnosed. Therefore, it is important that you seek evaluation for your vein concerns from an experienced vein care specialist. Dr. Manu B. Aggarwal, MHSA, MD, is a board-certified and aesthetic-laser-certified family physician. Dr. Aggarwal and her caring staff at the Vein Care Center specialize in the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of vein disease for patients all over Ohio. Their expertise ensures a thorough evaluation of your symptoms to adequately diagnose and treat your vein disease.

Contact us today to schedule a thorough vein screening with our team, by calling us at 419 227 4472 or filling out our online form.

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