Dr. Kurtis Kim of The Vascular Center at Mercy Discusses May-Thurner Syndrome

October 15, 2018
The Vascular Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

Pain and swelling in the leg, particularly someone's left leg, is not something that should be ignored. It could be a condition called May-Thurner Syndrome.

Delores Robinson came to see Dr. Kurtis Kim, Director of The Vascular Laboratory at The Vascular Center at Mercy, concerned about pain and swelling in her left leg.

"I had swelling in my ankle and my leg, and I also experienced extreme fatigue and loss of appetite. And I knew my body wasn't feeling well," Robinson said.

Dr. Kim diagnosed her with May-Thurner Syndrome. It's an anatomical problem with the iliac vein and artery.

"The arteries and veins in the pelvis, they tend to crisscross each other as they are divided into two in either leg. And in that process, the artery, which is a high-pressure system, can compress the vein," Dr. Kim explained.

When the vein is compressed, it restricts blood flow and can cause a deep vein thrombosis -- a life-threatening blood clot.

Conventional CT scans, ultrasounds, and MRIs have not been effective in diagnosing May-Thurner Syndrome, but a new method is.

"We have an ultrasound as small as this. I'm going to compare it to my last finger, and that's how thin they are. We insert this into the vein - all the way up to the pelvic vein, and see how collapsed they are in relation to the artery - if they are collapsed more than 50 percent that is diagnostic for May-Thurner disease," Dr. Kim said.

Dr. Kim treats the condition with a stent, and improvement with blood flow is immediate. On the left is a vein before stent surgery, and on the right is after.

He also recommends patients use a leg compression device several times a day to maintain the health of the vein.
Robinson had the stent surgery and said the difference is night and day.

"Now I can get up. I can do my daily chores. I can go to work, and everything is fine now. I have my health and strength back, and that was most important to me," Robinson said.

View board-certified Mercy vascular surgeon Dr. Kurtis Kim’s interview regarding May-Thurner Syndrome.


Dan Collins - Senior Director of Media Relations at Mercy Medical Center

Dan Collins, Senior Director of Media Relations

Email: dcollins@mdmercy.com Office: 410-332-9714 Cell: 410-375-7342

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on FacebookTwitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.

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