Most of us are aware of the dangers of blood clots and generally understand the importance of moving our legs or walking around when forced to sit or lie in the same position for a long period of time (i.e. extended flights or hospital stays). Aside from adopting healthy lifestyle habits, knowing what to look for and how to make simple adjustments will generally make a huge difference whether or not you develop a clot—also known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
However, it’s important to realize that, while rare, you may be at risk for potentially life-altering blood clots as a result of May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS), which occurs when the left iliac vein is compressed by the right iliac artery. While the condition itself is not life-threatening, it restricts the blood return from your left leg, which can cause left leg swelling and the formation of blood clots that may break free and travel to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism.
The challenge is that most patients with MTS do not even realize they have it until it is identified through the presence of a deep vein thrombosis. In general, women are three-times more likely to develop MTS than men, especially during their childbearing years, so it is important to understand that blood clots and vein disorders do not simply impact the elderly.
Regardless of your age, if you find yourself dealing with symptoms such as swelling, pain or tenderness in the leg, a feeling of increased warmth in the leg, redness or discoloration of the skin, or enlargement of the veins in the leg, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Mays-Thurner Syndrome is very treatable; however, receiving the right diagnosis is the first step.
If you’ve been experiencing leg pain or are concerned about the symptoms mentioned above, please feel free to contact our office with any questions about your condition or to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Joseph J. Ricotta II MD, MS, FACS
Vascular Institute of Atlanta