IVC filter placement
IVC filter removal
IVC filters are placed in patients who either have a history or are at risk of developing blood clots in the legs. Clots may result from trauma or surgery, childbirth, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or other causes. Blood clots that develop in the veins of the leg or pelvis occasionally break up and large pieces of the clot can travel to the lungs. An IVC filter traps large clot fragments and prevents them from traveling through the vena cava vein to the heart and lungs, where they could cause severe complications or even death.
In an inferior vena cava filter placement procedure, interventional radiologists use image guidance to place a filter in the IVC, the large vein in the abdomen that returns blood from the lower body to the heart.
Until recently, IVC filters were available only as permanently implanted devices. Newer filters, called retrievable filters, are removed after they are no longer needed. This removal may be performed when the risk of a clot traveling to the lung has passed.
Removal of an IVC filter eliminates any long-term risks of having the filter in place. It does not address the cause of the deep vein thrombosis or coagulation. Your referring physician will determine if blood thinners are still necessary.