Special Procedures - Vena Cava Filters

IVC (inferior vena cava) filters are used to prevent the release of a dangerous clot to the lungs. IVC filters can be non-surgically placed in the inferior vena cava using a catheter inserted in the groin or neck to catch a clot before it gets to the lung.

Once the IVC filter is released from the catheter, prongs on the end of the filter anchor it to the wall of the inferior vena cava.

IVC filters can be useful in those patients with recurrent pulmonary emboli or increased venous thrombosis while on anticoagulant medication.  IVC filters may also be helpful in those for whom anticoagulants may be contraindicated to include, those with active or recent hemorrhage, peptic ulcer, alcoholism, malignant tumors or people with severe lung or heart disease, who may not survive a small pulmonary embolus.

Prior to placement of the IVC filter, a venogram procedure is performed to evaluate the diameter of the inferior vena cava. After placement of the IVC filter, venography is used to assess the filter.