Venous compression syndrome is the result of compression of a vein causing venous hypertension or venous thrombosis. The most common types of venous compression syndrome include:

  • Iliac vein (May-Thurner syndrome)
  • Subclavian vein (Paget-Schroetter syndrome/venous thoracic outlet syndrome)
  • Renal vein (nutcracker syndrome)
  • Popliteal vein


Venous compression syndromes can cause swelling of the affected limb and susceptibility to acute clots. Continued damage to the vein can lead to chronic venous occlusion.


Non-invasive imaging, such as ultrasound, is used to diagnose clots that accompany symptoms. Additional evaluation with venography is performed to evaluate and treat acute and chronic clots.


Anticoagulation (blood thinners) is used to treat acute clots. Depending on the location of the venous compression, minimally invasive techniques can be used to treat acute clots and treat the cause (such as stent placement for May-Thurner syndrome). Surgery will sometimes be necessary for the definitive treatment of symptomatic subclavian or renal vein compression.