Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement

What you should know

Inferior vena cava filter placement is surgery to place a filter into your inferior vena cava (IVC). The IVC is a large blood vessel that brings blood from your lower body back to your heart. The filter is a small mesh strainer made of thin wires. It is placed in the center of the IVC to trap blood clots going to your heart or lungs.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your IVC and the tissue around it may get damaged during the procedure. Your filter may break, loosen, move, or get blocked. You may need another procedure to fix these problems with your filter.

Getting Ready

The week before your procedure:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • You may need blood and urine tests before your procedure. Imaging tests, such as an x-ray or ultrasound, may also be done. Talk to your caregiver about these and other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The night before your procedure:

  • You may be given medicine to help you sleep.

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your procedure:

  • Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

Treatment

What will happen:

Your caregiver will insert a catheter (thin plastic tube) into a blood vessel in your neck or groin. He will use an ultrasound or x-ray to guide the catheter into your IVC. The filter will be pushed through the catheter and attached to the walls of the IVC. The catheter is pulled out and the filter is left in. Your caregiver will press firmly on the area where the catheter went in, to stop any bleeding. After a few minutes, your caregiver will put a bandage on the area. The bandage will keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room. Your caregiver may remove the bandage to check your wound.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your procedure.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have chest pain, trouble breathing, or feel faint.

  • Your nails or lips look blue.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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