You might never have heard of it, but around 25% of adults have iliac vein compression syndrome, which could lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and possibly a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. The highly skilled team at Precision Vascular has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating both iliac vein compression syndrome and DVT, so if you love your legs, visit one of their branches in Arlington, Dallas, Mesquite, and McKinney, Texas. Book by phone or online today.
Iliac vein compression syndrome, also known as May-Thurner syndrome or Cockett's syndrome, is a condition that affects two major blood vessels in your legs.
It can cause superficial venous insufficiency (including varicose veins), but the chief concern when you have iliac vein compression syndrome is that you’re more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in your left leg.
There are two types of major blood vessels in your body that work in a continuous cycle: Arteries carry freshly oxygenated blood from your heart, and veins bring the blood back.
In some places, such as the pelvis, arteries and veins cross over, which shouldn’t be a problem unless you have iliac vein compression syndrome.
When you have iliac vein compression syndrome, your right iliac artery, which carries blood into your right leg, puts pressure on the left iliac vein, which takes blood out of your left leg. This means your blood can’t flow away from your left leg as well as it should, and this could lead to DVT.
DVT isn’t life-threatening in itself, although it can be extremely painful and disabling, and could cause long-term damage to the veins and valves.
The chief concern is that a clot could break off, traveling to a lung and causing a pulmonary embolism, which could be potentially life-threatening.
Iliac vein compression syndrome could affect anyone and appears quite randomly. It’s more likely to affect you if you have risk factors such as:
Iliac vein compression syndrome doesn’t cause any symptoms, and you could have it your whole life without knowing. Most people are unaware they have iliac vein compression syndrome unless they develop DVT.
The main treatment option for iliac vein compression syndrome is angioplasty with a venous stent. Your provider at Precision Vascular inserts a catheter, which is a tiny flexible tube, through a small incision in your skin. They pass the catheter along your vein and inject a dye that shows up on X-ray.
Using these X-ray images as a guide, your provider assesses the vein for blockages or narrowing. They then insert a special balloon, inflating it to help widen the passage through the vein, and insert a stent, which is a small, expandable mesh tube that helps to support the vein’s inner wall and keep it open.
Angioplasty with a venous stent is a minimally invasive procedure that significantly improves blood flow. You need only a mild sedative for the surgery, and there’s very little downtime afterward.
If you have circulation problems affecting your left leg more than your right leg or are concerned about symptoms of DVT, call Precision Vascular now, or book an appointment online.