Also known as the iliac vein compression syndrome, the May-Thurner syndrome (MTS) is a medical condition wherein there is a pressure build-up in the left common iliac vein. This particular vein is a blood vessel found in the pelvic area. The pressure build-up is often the result of a compression by an artery called the common iliac artery. In a person diagnosed with MTS, the body’s right common iliac artery crosses the left common iliac vein.
This crossover causes it to press against the spine, causing it the blood flow to be compromised and blood clots to form. When the clots eventually detach from the vein, it can result in serious health complications, including death.
Here are three things you need to know about the condition:
1. How many people in the U.S. have May-Thurner syndrome?
According to the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information, MTS is rarely diagnosed but the condition has been detected in more than 20 percent of the country’s population. Another organization reported that about 2 to 5 percent of all people with lower extremities vein disorders may have MTS.
2. What is the treatment?
A patient suffering from May-Thurner syndrome uses a stent or stenting procedure to treat the condition. Upon removal of the blood clot, doctors force open the flattened vein through an angioplasty. A stent, which is a small, metal braided tube, is then placed to keep the vein open.
3. What are the symptoms?
Since MTS is rarely diagnosed, most people remain unaware that they have the condition until they are diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) wherein a blood clot forms within the leg veins. DVT can cause varicose veins to appear, plus pain accompanied by swelling and even bleeding. There are cases when MTS patients suffer from pulmonary embolisms. This is a condition wherein the detached blood clot travels and gets stuck in the lungs. This is when MTS patients suffer from rapid heartbeats, pain when inhaling deeply and coughing out blood.
MTS treatments are generally successful. If you suspect you might have MTS due to existing vein disorders, it is advisable to talk to your doctor immediately and have it checked for proper diagnosis and urgent treatment.