The Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) is the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart. Doctors may place a filter into the IVC to capture blood clots that move from a patient’s legs to the lungs causing breathing problems. Filters are often placed in a patient’s IVC prior to surgery and are removable.
Interventional radiologists can insert the IVC filter into the patient through a large vein at the top of the leg. A catheter is placed into the IVC and contrast dye injected to identify the proper location for the filter. The filter is then put in place through the catheter and expanded in place.
Placement of an IVC filter is an almost painless procedure. Most patients go home the same day, and can return to their normal activities the next day.