Nutcracker syndrome

World J Nephrol. 2014 Nov 6;3(4):277-81. doi: 10.5527/wjn.v3.i4.277.


The nutcracker phenomenon [left renal vein (LRV) entrapment syndrome] refers to compression of the LRV most commonly between abdominal aorta and superior mesenteric artery. Term of nutcracker syndrome (NCS) is used for patients with clinical symptoms associated with nutcracker anatomy. LRV entrapment divided into 2 types: anterior and posterior. Posterior and right-sided NCSs are rare conditions. The symptoms vary from asymptomatic hematuria to severe pelvic congestion. Symptoms include hematuria, orthostatic proteinuria, flank pain, abdominal pain, varicocele, dyspareunia, dysmenorrhea, fatigue and orthostatic intolerance. Existence of the clinical features constitutes a basis for the diagnosis. Several imaging methods such as Doppler ultrasonography, computed tomography angiography, magnetic resonance angiography and retrograde venography are used to diagnose NCS. The management of NCS depends upon the clinical presentation and the severity of the LRV hypertension. The treatment options are ranged from surveillance to nephrectomy. Treatment decision should be based on the severity of symptoms and their expected reversibility with regard to patient's age and the stage of the syndrome.

Keywords: Hematuria; Left renal vein hypertension; Nutcracker syndrome; Orthostatic proteinuria; Renal vein entrapment.

Publication types

  • Review