Compression of left renal vein and left common iliac vein on CT scans: how often are they detected?

Adenauer Marinho de Oliveira Góes Junior Rafaela de Souza Araújo Ismari Perini Furlaneto Waldonio de Brito Vieira About the authors



The nutcracker and May-Thurner syndromes are rare and, although often underdiagnosed, they can cause limiting symptoms. They are frequently considered only after exclusion of other diagnoses and there is no consensus in the literature on prevalence, incidence, or diagnostic criteria.


To estimate the frequency of compression of the left common iliac vein and left renal vein in CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis.


Descriptive, quantitative, cross-sectional study. The criteria used to define compression of the left renal vein were a hilar/aortomesenteric diameter ratio > 4 and aortomesenteric angle < 39° and the criterion for compression of the left common iliac vein was a diameter < 4mm.


CT scans of 95 patients were analyzed; 61% were women and 39% were men. Left renal vein compression was observed in 24.2% of the sample, with a mean age of 48.8 years, occurring in 27.6% of the women and 18.9% of the men (p = 0.3366). Compression of the left common iliac vein was detected in 15.7% of the sample, with a mean age of 45.9 years, occurring in 24.1% of the women and 2.7% of the men (p = 0.0024). Both veins were compressed in 7.4% of the patients.


Left renal vein compression was detected in women and men at similar frequencies, whereas left common iliac vein compression was more frequent in women. Both venous compressions were most frequently found in patients aged 41 to 50 years.

nutcracker syndrome; May-Thurner syndrome; computed tomography; iliac vein; compression

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