INFERIOR VENA CAVA FILTER – IVC FILTER PLACEMENT & REMOVAL
Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement is a procedure performed in a hospital setting. It is sometimes referred to as IVCF.
Removal can be either at our offices or in the hospital setting. Removal in the office setting is at a lower cost than in the hospital.
The cost of the removal procedure is lower in the outpatient setting.
What is an IVC filter?
An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a medical device that is placed in the large vein in the abdomen in order to prevent blood clots originating in the legs from reaching the lungs. This option is most commonly indicated for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) when blood thinning therapy is not advisable.
Blood clots that develop in the veins of the leg or pelvis are known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These clots have the potential to break up and large pieces of the clot can travel to the lungs. An IVC filter acts like a catcher’s mitt, allowing normal liquid blood to flow but trapping large clot fragments preventing them from traveling to the heart and lungs, where they could cause severe complications.
About the Procedure
During the placement procedure, RIA Endovascular interventional radiologists use image guidance to place a filter in the inferior vena cava (IVC), the large vein in the abdomen that returns blood from the lower body to the heart. The IVC filter, which looks like a mini-eggbeater, is compressed into a very thin catheter. The interventional radiologist accessed the venous system through using the catheter via the femoral vein (in the groin) or the jugular vein (in the neck). The interventional radiologist uses fluoroscopic guidance to reach the desired location. Then the filter is pushed through the catheter and deployed into the desired location. The IVC filter is removed using a procedure similar to the way it was inserted. X-ray dye (contrast) is injected around the filter to make sure that area beneath the filter is free of blood clots. If so, it is safe to proceed with removal. A catheter-based snare is used to grab the hook at the end of the filter. The filter is then encased by a removal sheath and removed from the body.
Are these filters permanent?
Until recently, IVC filters were available only as permanently implanted devices. Today, both permanent and optionally retrievable filters are available. The optionally retrievable filters may be left in place permanently or have the option to be removed from the blood vessel later. Removal may be performed when the risk of clot traveling to the lung has passed. Removal of an IVC filter eliminates the long-term risks of having the filter in place. However, it does not address the cause of the deep vein thrombosis or coagulation. Your referring physician will determine if blood thinners are still necessary.