The inferior vena cava is the largest vein in the body; it carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower extremities to the heart and then the lungs. Blood clots can form in the leg or pelvic veins a condition called deep vein thrombosis or DVT. These clots can break up and the pieces are then able to travel up the vein to the heart and lungs where they can cause severe complications or even death. IVC filters are used to capture these fragments of clots and prevent them moving into the heart and lungs. The IVC filter is a small cone shaped device that is placed endovascularly; meaning that they are inserted via a blood vessel. Placement involves the filter being inserted into the vein via a small catheter in either your groin or neck, and moved up into the required position in the inferior vena cava. X-rays with contrast will be taken during the procedure to allow accurate positioning and the filter will be opened and left in position. Some filters are temporary and others are permanent, your surgeon will advise you on the type necessary for you.
- The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to complete
- After the procedure is completed the catheter will be removed, you will have pressure applied to the site
- You will be required to lie flat for up to 4 hours.
- You will be discharged home on the same day.
IVC Filter Retrival
The filter is retrieved in a process similar to the way it was inserted - with the filter being hooked then drawn back onto the catheter and the catheter is then removed from the vein used for the procedure.