What is an Inferior Vena Cava 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.
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.

Why would you need an Inferior Vena Cava Filter?

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. Other reasons one might need an IVC filter is immobility, pulmonary embolism or trauma.

Risks Involved

Our ability to use imaging guidance and cutting-edge technology minimizes patient risk. Prior to your procedure, your physician will discuss any potential risks with you.

Conditions to let us know about

Let your doctor know if you currently are pregnant or breast feeding, feeling ill, have a fever, or are taking any blood thinners.

Insurance coverage

IVC Filter is covered by most private insurance providers as well as Medicare. We will seek authorization from your insurance company prior to your procedure.

Preparing for your procedure

If you are on blood thinners your doctor will instruct you if you need to stop these medications prior to the procedure. If your procedure requires sedation, then you will need a responsible adult to give you a ride home.

Recovering from your procedure

You may possibly receive mild to moderate sedation during your procedure. You will stay in the recovery area until you are ready for discharge. You will be given written post procedure discharge instructions that will advise you about return to normal physical activity. If you have any questions after your procedure, please call the RIA Interventional Suite at 720-493-3406.

Insurance coverage

Catheter-directed Thrombolysis and Thrombectomy are covered by most private insurance providers as well as Medicare. We will seek authorization from your insurance company prior to your procedure.

Preparing for your procedure

If you are on blood thinners your doctor will instruct you if you need to stop these medications prior to the procedure. If your procedure requires sedation, then you will need a responsible adult to give you a ride home.

Recovering from your procedure

You may possibly receive mild to moderate sedation during your procedure. You will stay in the recovery area until you are ready for discharge. You will be given written post procedure discharge instructions that will advise you about return to normal physical activity. If you have any questions after your procedure, please call the RIA Interventional Suite at 720-493-3406.

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