Nutcracker syndrome: diagnosis and therapy
Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy
Nutcracker syndrome (NCS) is an extrinsic compression of the left renal vein (LRV) by the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) anteriorly and aorta posteriorly resulting in renal vascular congestion manifesting as hematuria, proteinuria, orthostatic hypotension, pain, or even renal dysfunction. Long-standing venous compression can encourage collateral drainage pathways through gonadal and pelvic veins, which may explain reported symptom and syndrome overlap with pelvic congestion syndrome.
... syndrome. Diagnosis can be challenging and variable, frequently involving a combination of ultrasound Doppler, cross-sectional, and invasive imaging. Often, intravascular pressure measurements are required to prove a renocaval pressure gradient to aid in a definitive diagnosis. Conservative management is appropriate, especially in children, who tend to outgrow the disorder. In the interim, medical management with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) is a useful therapy to manage orthostatic hypotension in the pediatric population. In adults, invasive therapies are more frequently pursued. These are aimed at relieving the extrinsic compression on the LRV. The standard of care is renal vein transposition, with renal autotransplantation reserved for recalcitrant cases. Endovascular stenting is a less invasive option. Laparoscopic placement of an exovascular stent is a newer therapy intended to minimize trauma to the LRV. In this review, we will discuss the clinical manifestations, diagnostic criterion, imaging features, and conservative and surgical therapies for this condition.