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What is May Thurner Syndrome all you need to know

By Akanksha - April 08, 2024 10:25 AM

This week, May-Thurner syndrome gained attention after Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) revealed during her campaign trail that she has the blood flow-altering ailment. The hard-right congresswoman's campaign announced on Tuesday that she had been admitted to the hospital due to "severe swelling in her upper left leg" and that she had surgery to remove an acute blood clot and place a stent. It is anticipated that she will fully recover.

What is May-Thurner Syndrome?

As per the Cleveland Clinic, May-Thurner syndrome arises from compression of the left iliac vein by the right iliac artery, which subsequently returns blood from the left leg to the heart through the pelvic area. This may result in DVT, a disorder that impedes the flow of blood back to the heart by forming a blood clot in the deep veins, usually in the legs.

These clots have the potential to break free and become lodged in the lungs, obstructing blood flow and causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.

Many individuals with May-Thurner syndrome are asymptomatic. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that the illness is more frequent in pregnant women between the ages of 20 and 40.

may thurner

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After the syndrome was anatomically defined in 1957 by the researchers for whom it was named, it was thought to be rare at first, but reports have increased over time, and a 2020 paper from the University of Minnesota raised the possibility that it may be more common “than generally perceived."

May-Thurner syndrome is often referred to as Cockett syndrome or iliac vein compression syndrome, after a researcher who was the first to identify the illness in surviving patients.

Why is May-Thurner Syndrome Caused?

Experts are unsure of the cause of this type of venous compression, the Cleveland Clinic reports.

According to a 2020 study, one explanation for the underdiagnosis of the illness would be that patients may not show symptoms until they are "provoked by instances of increased hypercoagulability," or an increased propensity to clot blood, as might occur after giving birth or during travel.

Pregnancy, using oral contraceptives, having recently undergone surgery, and vein damage are associated risk factors, according to Northwell Health.

What Signs of May-Thurner Syndrome Are Present?

  • Swollen legs.
  • Blood clots in your veins due to chronic venous insufficiency. This results in skin changes, edema, pressure, and non-healing venous ulcers or sores.
  • A blood clot in a vein located far below the surface is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

A blood clot can cause major, sometimes fatal problems if it breaks loose and goes to your heart, brain, or lungs. These problems include:

  • A thrombosis of blood in the lung, or pulmonary embolism
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

How is May-Thurner Syndrome Treated?

How is May Thurner Syndrome Treated

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Improving blood flow and lowering the risk of getting DVT are the main goals of treatment for May-Thurner syndrome. Your provider could suggest:

  • Angioplasty and stenting: A catheter with a balloon at the end is inserted into the left iliac vein by your healthcare professional. The balloon expands to open the vein when it is positioned correctly. After that, your doctor removes the balloon and inserts a tiny mesh tube (stent) to keep the vein open.
  • Bypass surgery: To create a new path around the squeezed section of the iliac vein, your doctor takes a little piece of tissue from you or a donor. This returns blood flow to normal.

If I Have DVT, How May I Be Treated for May-Thurner Syndrome?

If May-Thurner syndrome is the cause of your DVT, your doctor could additionally advise:

  • Blood-thinning drugs to stop or dissolve blood clots, such as anticoagulants.
  • Medications that actively break up clots are injected via a catheter.
  • Vena cava filters: These are devices that are inserted into the big vein that supplies blood to your heart, the inferior vena cava, to catch blood clots and prevent them from travelling to your lungs.

How Can I Reduce My Chance of Developing May-Thurner Syndrome?

Since the etiology of May-Thurner syndrome is unknown, there is no known prevention for it. However, you may enhance your blood flow and lower your chance of blood clots by:

  • Limiting the amount of time spent sitting down.
  • Consuming a lot of water.
  • Regular exercise, with an emphasis on aerobic activity, is beneficial for cardiovascular health.
  • Take care of any medical concerns, such as diabetes, peripheral artery disease (PAD), or high blood pressure (hypertension), with the assistance of your healthcare practitioner.
  • Giving up smoking.
  • Putting on socks or compression stockings as advised by your doctor.

Could May-Thurner syndrome be cured?

A potentially fatal pulmonary embolism is a consequence of May-Thurner syndrome. If you exhibit any pulmonary embolism symptoms, give 911 a call right away.

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About the Author:

Akanksha Sinha

I'm Akanksha Sinha, an expert in writing sports blogs, news, and various articles for entertainment and more. I bring a unique flair to my work, providing insightful perspectives on the world of sports.

My articles aim to inform and entertain, making me a go-to source for sports enthusiasts seeking a blend of information and enjoyment. With a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail, I consistently deliver compelling narratives that resonate with a diverse audience.