- The May-Thurner syndrome is the symptomatic compression of the left common iliac vein between the right common iliac artery and the lumbar vertebrae.
- In 1851, Virchow observed the sinistral (left-sided) predominance of deep venous thrombosis of the legs and proposed this explanation.
- More than a century later, May and Thurner noted the presence of venous webs, or “spurs,” in the left common iliac vein in 22% of autopsies. They attributed these spurs to scarring from repetitive compression of the common iliac vein by pulsations of the overlying common iliac artery.
- Compression of the iliac vein has been documented in approximately 50% of patients with left iliac vein thrombosis.