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Vol 23, No 1-2 (2021)
Research paper
Published online: 2022-09-21
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Lumbar overlordosis — towards the better understanding of the May-Thurner syndrome pathogenesis

Katarzyna Kościelna-Buczek1, Ewa Mędoń1, Michał Widuch1, Bartosz Kończyk1, Wacław Kuczmik1, Tomasz Urbanek1
Chirurgia Polska 2021;23(1-2):1-10.


Introduction: May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS) is a condition in which the left common iliac vein is compressed
by the right common iliac artery, which together with intraluminal vein changes can lead to clinically
symptomatic venous outflow obstruction. Patients having such pathology may suffer from symptoms of
venous hypertension as well as lower leg deep venous thrombosis. In most of the MTS cases, static and
continuous compression is observed which can also lead to the intraluminal spur formation. According to
the literature, among the factors which can influence the severity of iliac vein compression, lumbar spinal
degeneration can also be mentioned. Considering the aortic bifurcation anatomical conditions, also other,
non — degenerative changes of the lumbar vertebral column segment can be taken into consideration.

Aim: This study aimed to reveal the prevalence of the left common iliac vein compression in young healthy
individuals as well as to assess the severity of the left iliac vein compression provoked by lumbar

Material and methods: The study was performed on a group of 207 volunteers of both sexes, aged 21–27

yrs. using ultrasound examination to measure the diameter of the right common iliac vein as well as the
diameter of the left common iliac vein in the area of the possible compression by the right iliac artery.
In all the patients the measurements were performed in the supine position as well as in the provoked
lumbar hyperlordosis position. In all the individuals the presence of the symptoms and signs of the lower
leg chronic venous disease were investigated.

Results: The mean anterior-posterior diameter of the right common iliac vein in the standard supine position
in the whole study group was 5.71 mm (± 0.6 mm). The mean diameter of the left common iliac vein in
a normal horizontal position was 4.87 mm (± 0.6 mm) with a range from 3.8 mm to 6.2 mm. In most of
the cases, the difference between the left and iliac common vein diameter (when measured in the place
of the right iliac artery crossing) did not exceed 20%. In 15.9% of the study subjects, the right and left iliac
vein diameter difference ranges between 20–30% and in 2.41% only, the diameter difference over 30%
was noticed (in none of the cases the stenosis exceeding 40% of the vein diameter was found). Looking
for the effect of the overlordosis on the proclivity to decrease left iliac vein diameter, in the provoked
hyperlordosis position the changes of the iliac vein diameter in the range of 21–30% were observed in
15.9% and over 30% in 2.4% of the study subjects. Hyperlordosis presence was also responsible for the
shift towards lower left iliac vein diameter — in 36.2% of the patients, the left iliac vein diameter below
4 mm was noticed including 1.9% of individuals with a diameter not exceeding 3 mm. In the analysis,
there was no statistically significant correlation between the presence of the reported CVD symptoms in
the left leg and the reported diameter reduction between the right and left iliac veins in the population of
the studied young individuals.

Conclusions: Left common iliac vein compression may be anatomically conditioned at least in some of
the young population individuals. Lumbar hyperlordosis influence on the left common iliac vein diameter
suggests that also in healthily individuals, an incorrect spinal position can promote the occurrence of the
left iliac vein compression. Further studies are needed to assess the haemodynamic influence of these
findings on the lower leg venous outflow.

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