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Inferior Vena Cava Filter Removal


  • Inferior vena cava filter removal is surgery to remove a filter which was placed in a previous surgery. The inferior vena cava, also called IVC, is a large blood vessel found in your abdomen (stomach). It starts at your abdomen and ends at your heart, inside your chest. The IVC brings blood from the lower parts of your body back to your heart. An IVC filter is a specially shaped mesh made of very thin wires that acts like a strainer for your blood. An IVC filter is usually needed if you have blood clots, a pulmonary embolism, or deep venous thrombosis. Pulmonary embolism is when blood clots clog blood vessels in your lungs, causing trouble breathing, chest pain, and can result in death. It may also be needed after trauma (such as a head injury or pelvis fracture), or if you cannot use medicine to thin your blood.
  • An IVC filter is usually removed when your health condition improves. It may be removed when you are no longer at risk of having blood clots. It may also be removed when your bleeding stops or when you are allowed to take blood-thinners. Your caregiver will tell you when the IVC filter may be removed. He will remove it using a special catheter with a small hook on its tip to catch the filter. The catheter is pulled out together with the IVC filter.
    Inferior Vena Cava Filter


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Ask your caregiver when you need to return to have your wounds checked. If you have another medical problem causing your blood to clot, you will need to see a caregiver to treat the problem.


  • Avoid doing hard activities, such as heavy lifting, pulling, and pushing. You may also need to limit your body movements.
  • Ask your caregiver if and when you can start exercising. You may not be able to play hard or contact sports. It is best to start slowly and do more as you get stronger. Exercising can help make your heart stronger, lower your blood pressure, and keep you healthy.
  • Do not let your wound get wet unless your caregiver says it is OK. Ask your caregiver when you will be allowed to bathe, shower, or swim.

Avoid stress:

Stress may slow healing and cause illness. Since it is hard to avoid stress, learn to control it. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing. Talk to your caregiver about things that upset you.

Eating and drinking:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Eating healthy foods may help you have more energy and heal faster. Ask your caregiver if you need to be on a special diet.
  • Men 19 years old and older should drink about 3.0 Liters of liquid each day (close to 13 eight-ounce cups). Women 19 years old and older should drink about 2.2 Liters of liquid each day (close to 9 eight-ounce cups). Follow your caregiver's advice if you must change the amount of liquid you drink. For most people, good liquids to drink are water, juices, and milk. If you are used to drinking liquids that contain caffeine, such as coffee, these can also be counted in your daily liquid amount. Try to drink enough liquid each day, and not just when you feel thirsty.

Quit smoking:

It is never too late to quit smoking. Smoking harms the heart, lungs, and the blood. You are more likely to have a heart attack, lung disease, and cancer if you smoke. You will help yourself and those around you by not smoking. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to stop smoking if you are having trouble quitting.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.


  • You turn blue, feel faint, or lose consciousness.
  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.
  • Your incisions are swollen, red, have pus coming from them, or they have come apart.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.