Endovascular stenting in the treatment of pelvic vein congestion caused by nutcracker syndrome: Lessons learned from the first five cases

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Background: Compression of the left renal vein between the aorta and the superior mesenteric artery is a rare but possibly underestimated condition. Surgical correction (42 cases reported in the literature) can be performed by means of a variety of different techniques. Although endovascular stenting is well accepted for iliocaval occlusive disease, it has been poorly evaluated in this indication. We describe five patients who were treated for nutcracker syndrome by using stenting and analyze the nine cases previously reported. Methods: From November 2002 to September 2004, five women (mean age, 34.7 years) were admitted for endovascular treatment of a nutcracker syndrome. They all had incapacitating pelvic congestion syndrome, including two with a history of left ovarian vein embolization; moreover, two had left lumbar pain, and three had hematuria. The mean preoperative venous disability score was 2.4. The patients underwent a gynecologic examination and laparoscopy to eliminate other causes of pelvic pain. The laparoscopy revealed large pelvic varicose veins and no signs of endometriosis. Duplex scan, computed tomographic scan, and iliocavography revealed left renal vein compression, with proximal distention and collateral pathways, with dilatation and permanent reflux in the left ovarian vein in the three patients who had not had prior embolization. The mean renocaval pullback gradient was 4.3 mm Hg. A percutaneous endovascular procedure, during in which a self-expanding metallic stent was implanted, was performed under general anaesthesia. Results: Technical success was achieved in all cases. One case of stent migration occurred: the stent was pulled down in the inferior vena cava, with uneventful follow-up (mean, 14.3 months). One month later, patients were all improved and stents were patent at the duplex scan examination, without restenosis. The mean venous disability score was 1. No further left ovarian vein reflux was evident at duplex scan in patients who did not have prior embolization. Pelvic pain recurred in one patient who had initially improved, and endometriosis was diagnosed 15 months after the procedure. Two other patients, who received 40-mm-long stents, had a secondary recurrence of the symptoms caused by stent dislodgement. The two other patients were asymptomatic. Conclusions: This study shows that stenting is feasible, but some guidelines should be followed, mainly the use of long stents protruding into the inferior vena cava. Stenting can eliminate the symptoms of the condition, and the technique is only very slightly invasive. Further experience and follow-up are needed before accepting such a procedure for treatment of the nutcracker syndrome. Copyright © 2005 by The Society for Vascular Surgery.




Hartung, O., Grisoli, D., Boufi, M., Marani, I., Hakam, Z., Barthelemy, P., & Alimi, Y. S. (2005). Endovascular stenting in the treatment of pelvic vein congestion caused by nutcracker syndrome: Lessons learned from the first five cases. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 42(2), 275–280. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2005.03.052

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