May-Thurner Syndrome is Diagnosed and Treated by Vascular Doctors in Baltimore

Mercy vascular surgeon Dr. Kurtis Kim discusses diagnosis and treatment of May Thurner Syndrome.

The doctors at The Vascular Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, offer patients a comprehensive approach to care. Our vascular specialists provide experienced diagnosis and treatment for circulatory concerns including May-Thurner syndrome – a vein compression condition.

About the Condition

The vascular system is made up of three types of blood vessels - veins, arteries and capillaries. May-Thurner syndrome occurs when the iliac vein, located in the pelvis, crosses and compresses the iliac artery, causing a restriction of blood flow. This syndrome can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which can lead to a pulmonary embolism.

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Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Many people are not aware that they have May-Thurner syndrome, as it can be asymptomatic. May-Thurner syndrome, especially if it results in DVT, can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Leg pain, throbbing or cramping
  • Leg swelling and/or a feeling of warmth in the affected leg
  • Feeling of heaviness in the affected leg
  • Red skin or discoloration on the affected leg
  • Varicose veins
  • Venous ulcers/sores

Risk factors include:

  • Dehydration
  • Lack of movement/immobilization
  • Hormone usage (steroids, testosterone, oral contraceptives)

A duplex ultrasound or venography can be used to check suspected issues with blood flow in the veins and arteries. May-Thurner syndrome can be diagnosed using an intravascular ultrasound device that is inserted into the pelvic iliac vein to see how compressed it is.

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Treatment Options

The goal of May-Thurner syndrome treatment is to improve blood flow in the impacted blood vessels. Treatment will be based on the severity of May-Thurner syndrome and whether it occurs simultaneously with DVT.

Most commonly, May-Thurner syndrome treatment is completed by placing a stent in the iliac vein. This process involves angioplasty and stenting

Other recommended treatments may include:

  • Blood thinners/anticoagulants
  • Compression garments
  • Thrombectomy to remove blood clot
  • Venous bypass surgery to reroute blood flow 
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Patient Stories
Vascular Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD


Having leg pain, swelling, and lost of appetite Delores was dealing with May Thurner Syndrome. Dr. Kurtis Kim was able to open her vein and rid Delores of pain, swelling and restore her appetite. 

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The Vascular Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD
Paul Lucas, M.D.

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Dr. Paul Lucas, Director of The Vascular Center at Mercy, leads a clinical team providing diagnosis and treatment for circulatory problems, including aneurysm, stroke, swelling of the leg and blockages.

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Patient Story:
Cheryl - Mercy Patient

Cheryl wears compression socks while working to help with venous insufficiency, a buildup of pressure in her legs.

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