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May Thurner Syndrome


What is May-Thurner Syndrome?

May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS), also known as iliac vein compression syndrome, is a vascular condition where the right iliac artery compresses the left iliac vein. This compression can obstruct blood flow in the vein, increasing the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and other complications.

Causes of May-Thurner Syndrome

May-Thurner Syndrome is primarily caused by anatomical variations where the right iliac artery, which crosses over the left iliac vein, compresses it against the spine. This compression can lead to reduced blood flow, vein damage, and the formation of blood clots.

Symptoms to Watch For

Many people with MTS do not experience symptoms until a blood clot forms. Common symptoms of MTS include:

  • Swelling in the left leg
  • Pain or discomfort in the left leg, especially after standing or walking
  • Varicose veins in the left leg
  • Skin discoloration or ulcers on the left leg
  • Recurrent DVT, primarily in the left leg


Diagnosing MTS often involves a combination of clinical evaluation and imaging studies:

  1. Physical Examination: Your doctor will assess your symptoms and medical history.
  2. Ultrasound: This non-invasive test uses sound waves to visualize blood flow and detect any blockages or clots.
  3. CT or MRI Venography: These imaging techniques provide detailed pictures of the blood vessels, helping to identify the exact location and extent of the compression.
  4. Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS): This minimally invasive procedure involves inserting a catheter with an ultrasound probe into the vein to get detailed images of the blood vessel's interior.

Treatment Options

Treatment for MTS aims to relieve the vein compression, restore normal blood flow, and prevent complications like DVT. Common treatment options include:

  1. Medications:
    • Anticoagulants: Blood thinners to prevent or treat blood clots.
    • Thrombolytics: Medications to dissolve existing clots.
  1. Minimally Invasive Procedures:
    • Angioplasty and Stenting: A balloon catheter is used to widen the vein, and a stent is placed to keep it open. This is the most common and effective treatment for MTS.
    • Catheter-Directed Thrombolysis: A catheter is used to deliver clot-dissolving medication directly to the site of the clot.
  1. Surgical Options:
    • In rare cases where minimally invasive treatments are not effective, surgery may be required to relieve the compression.

Lifestyle and Home Remedies

In addition to medical treatment, certain lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms and prevent complications:

  • Compression Stockings: Wearing compression stockings can help improve blood flow in the legs and reduce swelling.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity, such as walking or swimming, can help improve circulation.
  • Elevate Your Legs: Raising your legs when sitting or lying down can help reduce swelling.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help maintain good blood flow.
  • Healthy Diet: Eating a balanced diet can help maintain a healthy weight and improve vascular health.

When to Seek Medical Help

It's essential to seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms of MTS or DVT, such as:

  • Sudden swelling in one leg
  • Pain or tenderness in the leg, especially when standing or walking
  • Red or discolored skin on the leg
  • A feeling of warmth in the affected leg

Living with May-Thurner Syndrome

Living with MTS can be challenging, but with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, most people can manage their symptoms effectively. Regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider are crucial to monitor your condition and adjust your treatment plan as needed.


May-Thurner Syndrome is a treatable condition, but it requires timely diagnosis and appropriate management to prevent serious complications. If you suspect you have MTS or are experiencing symptoms, consult your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. With the right care and lifestyle adjustments, you can lead a healthy and active life despite having May-Thurner Syndrome.

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