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IVC Filter Placement

What Is an IVC Filter?

An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a small device that can stop blood clots from going up into the lungs. The inferior vena cava is a large vein in the middle of your body. Using image guidance, an interventional radiologist implants the filter using a catheter inserted through a small incision in the groin or neck. Once placed in the correct position, the physician will release the filter into the inferior vena cava vein, allowing it to fully expand so that it can stop blood clots from traveling to the lungs.

The procedure is performed under “twilight” sleep sedation, and the patient is usually discharged home after two hours. The filter may be left in place permanently or, in some cases, may be removed after a period of time.  

This outpatient procedure is available from interventional radiologists at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center and Orlando Health Dr. P. Phillips Hospital. 

It’s important to understand that an IVC filter does not protect against deep vein thrombosis. The filter helps to protect you from a life-threatening pulmonary embolism if you have deep vein thrombosis. 

At-risk patients are often prescribed a blood-thinning medicine, or in some cases your doctor may recommend an IVC filter to protect against pulmonary embolism.

What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis? 

Deep vein thrombosis is a condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside the body, most often in the thigh or lower leg. Deep vein thrombosis is a serious medical condition that causes pain and swelling in the leg. It also can lead to a pulmonary embolism if the blood clot breaks free and travels to a vessel in the lung, causing a blockage. Pulmonary embolism is a serious condition that, if not treated promptly, may be life-threatening.

Conditions that can contribute to the onset of deep vein thrombosis include recent surgery, stroke and injuries requiring prolonged bed rest, sitting for long periods, pregnancy, cancer treatment, smoking and obesity.