Symptomatic ileofemoral DVT after onset of oral contraceptive use in women with previously undiagnosed May-Thurner Syndrome

Erin H. Murphy, Charles M. Davis, Janna M. Journeycake, R. Patrick DeMuth, Frank R. Arko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Objective: May-Thurner syndrome is characterized by left common iliac obstruction secondary to compression of the left iliac vein by the right common iliac artery against the fifth-lumbar vertebra. This anatomic variant results in an increased incidence of left-sided deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Furthermore, while a preponderance of left-sided DVT has been demonstrated in women during pregnancy and oral contraceptive use, patients are not typically screened for this condition after developing a left-sided DVT. As anticoagulation alone is ineffective for DVT treatment in the setting of May-Thurner anatomy, more aggressive treatment is warranted. Failure to diagnosis this condition predisposes these women to the unnecessary risks of recurrent DVT and post-thrombotic syndrome. Methods: We present the occurrence of 7 adolescent patients with previously undiagnosed May-Thurner syndrome who presented with DVT after the initiation of oral contraceptive steroids (OCP) use. All 7 patients elected to proceed with mechanical thrombolysis/catheter based thrombolysis followed by endovascular stenting and were postoperatively treated with 6 months of warfarin. Results: Mean patient age was 18.3 ± 3.3 years (range, 16-24 years). Mean time to presentation after initiation of OCP was 5 weeks (range, 2-10 weeks). Mean time to intervention was 16.8 days (range, 10-24 days). All patients were treated with mechanical thrombectomy. Our rate of intraoperative clot resolution was 100%. All 7 patients were treated with self expanding nitinol stents after angioplasty of the iliac vein stenosis with resolution of the stenotic segment. Primary stent patency is 100% (7/7). Mean follow-up time is 13 ± 13.84 months (range, 6-42 months). There have been no long-term complications related to surgical treatment or anticoagulation. All 7 patients have experienced resolution of left leg swelling and pain and have no evidence of post-thrombotic syndrome or DVT recurrence to date. Conclusions: Women on OCPs presenting with left-sided iliofemoral DVT should be screened for hypercoagulable disorders and underlying May-Thurner anatomy. Treatment of May-Thurner syndrome should include thrombolysis/thrombectomy and anticoagulation for current DVT in addition to angioplasty and stenting of the underlying obstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)697-703
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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