Venous Occlusion | Treatment | MedStar Health

A condition that can cause pain and swelling in the affected part of the body

Veins are blood vessels that return blood to the heart. Venous occlusion describes a condition in which a vein becomes narrowed, blocked, or compressed by nearby structures such as clots, muscles, arteries, or other veins. This can result in blood pooling and flowing backward, causing swelling and pain in the area.

Examples of venous occlusion include May-Thurner syndrome , in which the left iliac vein in the pelvis is compressed by the right iliac artery; and nutcracker syndrome, in which a vein that carries blood out of the kidney is pinched by nearby arteries.

Our Vascular and Endovascular Program team will work with you to develop a treatment plan to manage your symptoms and help avoid serious complications. Venous occlusion can increase your risk of a blood clot in a deep vein, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).


Diagnosing venous occlusion is the first step to developing a treatment plan. Our specialists may recommend one or more diagnostic and imaging procedures.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


A fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses a continuous X-ray beam passed through the body to create real-time, moving images of your internal structures.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.


Treatment for venous occlusion will depend on the location and severity of the occlusion. Your doctor may recommend medications such as blood-thinning drugs to prevent blood clots or clot-dissolving medications, or procedures such as angioplasty or stenting  to widen a vein.

Venous stenting
Venous stenting uses a wire mesh tube placed within a vein to widen it and improve blood flow.

Additional information

Vascular and Endovascular Program

Partner with a recognized leader in offering care ranging from straightforward vascular disease to the most complex vascular disorders.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.