May-Thurner Syndrome

Also Called “Iliac Vein Compression Syndrome” and “Cocketts syndrome.”

May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS) is a mechanical problem that can increase your chances of blood clots. It is not an inherited or genetic condition. It occurs when the right iliac artery compresses the left iliac vein. This causes an increased chance of a deep vein thrombosis (DVT or leg clot) in the left leg.

Signs and Symptoms of Blood Clots – What You Need to Know

If you have MTS, you need to be aware of the symptoms of DVTs so you can seek medical attention.

If you have a Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT (leg or arm clot), you will notice:

Pain or tenderness in your arm or leg – often described as a cramp or Charley horse – with one or more of the following:

  1. Swelling
  2. Red or purple skin color
  3. Warm to the touch

If a piece of a DVT breaks off and travels to the lung, it can cause a lung clot. We call this a pulmonary embolism or PE. A PE can be a life threatening medical emergency. You need to seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of a PE.

If you have a Pulmonary Embolism or PE (lung clot), you may experience:

  • Hard to breath or shortness of breath
  • Chest pain – especially when trying to breathe
  • Rapid or racing heart beat
  • Fainting or passing out
  • Coughing up blood

Treatment involves keeping the veins open and preventing blood clots. This may involve taking blood thinners (anticoagulants or anti-clotting medication), taking clot dissolving medication, inserting stents (mesh tubes that keep the vein open), or inserting a vena cava filter

Resources for More Information

You can find more information about May-Thurner Syndrome at these links below:

  1. May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS): Includes what May-Thurner Syndrome is and how it is treated from the Cleveland Clinic
  2. May-Thurner syndrome: (2014) An excerpt from a book that provides an introduction to May-Thurner, how it presents clinically, and how the diagnosis is made.
  3. May-Thurner syndrome: a not so uncommon cause of a common condition: (2012) An article from Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings that presents a case study of a patient with multiple risk factors for DVT (deep vein thrombosis or leg clots) and was found to have May-Thurner syndrome after a comprehensive disagnostic approach.
  4. Pulmonary Emboli Without Leg Symptoms, May-Thurner syndrome Case Report and Review: (2012) An easy to understand journal article that presents a case study with a description of signs, and symptoms, and how the diagnosis is made. Includes diagrams, pictures, and CT Scan images.
  5. May-Thurner Syndrome: A Case Report and Review of the Literature: (2013) An easy to understand article from an open access journal that reviews the literature on May-Thurner Syndrome

You can read about people with May-Thurner Syndrome and Blood Clots in their own voices:

Patient Stories of May-Thurner Syndrome