May-Thurner syndrome, also known as iliac vein compression syndrome or Cockett’s syndrome, affects two blood vessels that go to your legs which could make you more likely to have a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in your left leg.
Your blood vessels carry blood to every part of your body and your arteries move blood away from your heart, and your veins bring it back. Sometimes, arteries and veins cross over each other. That is not normally a problem unless you have May-Thurner syndrome.
The right iliac artery, which carries blood to your right leg is the site of the condition. In May-Thurner syndrome, the right iliac artery squeezes the left iliac vein when they cross each other in your pelvis. Because of that pressure, blood can’t flow as freely through the left iliac vein. Imagine what stepping on a hose can do.
The result: You’re more likely to get a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in your left leg. A DVT is a type of blood clot that can be very serious. It’s not just that it can block blood flow in your leg, it can also break off and cause a clot in your lung. That’s called a pulmonary embolism, and it can be life-threatening.
May-Thurner syndrome individuals share the following characteristics:
- Are female
- Have scoliosis
- Just had a baby
- Have had more than one child
- Take oral birth control
- Are dehydrated
- Have a condition that causes your blood to clot too much
The Windsong Interventional and Vascular clinic treats May-Thurner syndrome using intravascular ultrasound to put a stent in place. Using a small balloon to expand the left iliac vein, a stent is placed so blood can flow normally.