May-Thurner Syndrome Could Be the Cause

By Ruth

A year-and-a-half ago I developed a blood clot in my left leg (behind the knee and down into the calf). I’m fine now, and there were no complications. However, early blood tests indicated that I have Factor II, a blood condition that may slightly increase the risk of clots. Before my doctor took me off warfarin, he sent me to a hematologist for a second opinion. The hematologist talked to me at length about my medical history, especially regarding years of edema and discomfort in that leg. Last December, a pelvic CT-scan confirmed his suspicions of May-Thurner Syndrome, which is a compression of the left iliac vein (the major vein returning blood to the heart from the leg) by the right iliac artery. This compression results in reduced blood flow back to the heart, which can then cause a blood clot. Currently I am on warfarin “for life” and wear heavy compression stockings daily. I plan on eventually getting another opinion from someone who has experience in treating the condition. May-Thurner was something totally new to my family physician.

Although I’ve read that the condition is very rare, I’m much more apt to believe that the condition is underdiagnosed. If I hadn’t had Factor II, I would not have been sent to the hematologist, and I wouldn’t know that I have MTS. (I wonder how many people that has happened to.) And, from what I’ve gathered from an online support group I belong to, because the clot may begin in the pelvis near the site of the compression, it (the clot) may go undiagnosed since the typical procedure to diagnose a blood clot is an ultrasound of the leg.
I tell my story in an effort to spread the word about May-Thurner Syndrome. If you have a history of discomfort or pain in the left leg - whether or not you've had a blood clot - INSIST that doctors check for MTS. Inform them of the condition if they don't know about it. You may be a candidate for a stent which may releive symptoms. Regardless, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.