About IVC Filters
Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are used to help capture blood clots and prevent pulmonary embolisms in high-risk patients with blood clotting issues.
Vascular & Interventional Specialists provides placement, management, and removal of IVC filters for our patients using minimally invasive procedures so you can get back to normal life sooner.
What are IVC filters?
The vena cava is the largest vein in the body — a major blood vessel that brings deoxygenated blood back to the heart and lungs from the rest of the body. The inferior vena cava is the lower portion of the vein in the chest and torso, carrying blood from the legs and abdomen.
An IVC filter is a small metal device that is placed in the vena cava, typically just below the kidneys. Placing a filter in the inferior vena cava can help trap clots from the legs or lower body to prevent them reaching the lungs and result in a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.
IVC filters are common in patients with recurrent blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or other blood clotting disorders. They don’t prevent blood clots or DVT, but help prevent pulmonary embolisms. IVC filters may be either permanent or temporary (removable) depending on your condition, risk factors, and your physician’s guidance.
Why you might need an IVC filter
There are several reasons you might need an IVC filter, including blood clotting disorders, limited mobility, or lifestyle factors:
Limited mobility from recent surgery, injury, long periods of travel, or other medical conditions like stroke
Recent surgery that may increase inflammation in the body and can lead to clotting
Injury to a deep vein in the leg
Blood disorders such as DVT that increase clotting
How IVC filters are placed
IVC filters are placed using a catheter, inserted through a small incision in the neck or groin. X-ray imaging is used to guide the catheter to the placement site in the vena cava, usually below the kidneys. The procedure is brief, around 20–30 minutes, and is performed under local anesthetic.
In addition to placing IVC filters, Vascular & Interventional Specialists also provides care for management and removal of IVC filters. The procedure for removing an IVC filter is very similar to that used to place the filter. Your doctor may recommend removing the filter if they feel it is no longer necessary.