May-Thurner Syndrome


Other Known Aliases – Illiac vein compression syndrome

Definition – Compression of the left common illiac vein by the right common illiac artery

Iliac veins.gif

Clinical Significance – This anatomic compression causes extensive deep venous thrombosis of the left lower extremity and is the cause of up to 5% of all spontaneous DVT occurrences.  It is more common in women (3x) and classically presents in the 2nd to 4th decade of life.  This should be considered in any patient with a spontaneous DVT and no other hypercoagulable causes. 

Image result for may-thurner syndrome

History – Named after May and Thurner in 1957 after they published their findings and built on the work of James McMurrich, who was an anatomist at the University of Michigan, and published his anatomic description of this phenomenon in 1908.  It was further defined clinically by Cockett and Thomas in 1965, but the eponym goes to May and Thurner.   There really is not a lot written about May and Turner and my internet detective skills did not turn up much on these physicians, so I apologize in advance for the paucity of personal information on these physicians that I usually try to provide on these posts.


  1. Firkin BG and Whitwirth JA.  Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. 2nd ed.  New York, NY; Parthenon Publishing Group. 1996.
  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
  3. Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012).  Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software].  Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com.
  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. McMurrich JP. The occurrence of congenital ahhesions in the common iliac veins and their relations to thrombosis of the femoral and iliac veins.
    The American Journal of the Medical Sciences. 1908;135:342
  6. May R, Thurner J. The cause of the predominantly sinistral occurrence of thrombosis of the pelvic veins. Angiology. 1957; 8(5):419-27. [pubmed]
  7. Cockett FB, Thomas ML. The iliac compression syndrome. The British journal of surgery. 1965; 52(10):816-21. [pubmed]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s