Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters

  • Description - An  inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a small generally cone shaped device which is used to prevent blood clots from traveling from the largest vein in the body, the inferior vena cava, to the heart or lungs. It is typically used for patients that who are unable to take blood thinning medications such as heparin or warfarin (such as those patients with history of recent surgery or cancer patients) An IVC filter may also be an option for patients with reocurring blood clots that do not readily respond to medications.

 

  • Permanent vs Retrievable Filters - IVC filters are either permanent or optionally retrievable. An optionally retrievable filter may be deemed more appropriate  depending on individual  factors including how long the patient is considered at risk for developing blood clots and if they can take blood thinning medications.

 

  • Procedure Consultation - prior to scheduling your procedure a consultation appointment  will be made with an ADI Interventional Radiology Professional (Radiologist, Physician's Assistant or Nurse Practioner) to provide you with information regarding all aspects of the outpatient IVC filter placement procedure including benefits and potential risks.

 

  • Procedure -  For filter placement, the intervential Radiologist will make a small incision in the groin or neck through which to pass a catheter. Under image guidance the physician advances the IVC filter through the catheter and into the inferior vena cava . When the filter is satisfactorily in place, the catheter is removed and a bandage placed over the insertion site. Following the procedure you should anticipate remaining in the hospital for 4-6 hours. 

 

  • If you recieve an optionally retrievable IVC filter, you will be instructed to follow up with your physician when it appropriate to remove the device. The procedure for filter removal is similar to the placement procedure above. A snare is used to retrieve the filter.