Inferior Vena Cava Filter

Deep Vein Thrombosis
St. Louis Vein Experts - Deep Vein Thrombosis

Inferior Vena Cava Filter- IVC Filter Placement & Removal

IVC filter placement is a procedure performed in a hospital setting. It is something referred to as IVCF.

The cost of this is lower in an outpatient facility.

What’s 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 vein 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, this could cause severe complications.

About the procedure:

Placement: During the placement procedure, image guidance is used 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 doctors uses fluoroscopic guidance to reach the desired location. Then the filter is pushed through the catheter and deployed into the desired location.

Removal

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 the filters permanent?

IVC filters used to be available only as permanently implanted devices, however now optionally retrievable ones are available as well.

The optionally retrievable ones 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 lungs has passed. Removal of an IVC filter eliminates the long-term risks of having a filter in place. However, it does not address the cause of the deep thrombosis or coagulation. Your referring physician will determine if blood thinners are still necessary.

To schedule an appointment please call one of our main offices

  • St. Louis – 1-314-849-0923
  • Farmington – 1-573-756-5298