Inferior Vena Cava (Ivc) Filter Placement
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 3, 2024.
What is IVC filter placement?
IVC filter placement is a procedure 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 device is placed in the center of the IVC to trap blood clots going to your heart or lungs. You may need an IVC filter if you have a blood clot in your leg. You may also need an IVC filter if your risk of blood clots is increased, such as after surgery or during pregnancy. You may need a temporary or permanent filter.
How do I prepare for IVC filter placement?
- Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare. Your provider may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home when you are discharged.
- Tell your provider about all medicines you currently take. Your provider will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for the procedure, and when to stop. Your provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of the procedure.
- You may need blood and urine tests before your procedure. These tests show how well your kidneys are functioning and your blood is clotting. You may also need x-rays or an ultrasound.
What will happen during IVC filter placement?
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. You may instead be given medicine to keep you relaxed and sleepy and local anesthesia to numb the area.
- Your healthcare provider will insert a catheter (thin plastic tube) into a blood vessel in your neck or groin. Your provider will use an ultrasound or x-ray to guide the catheter to the IVC in your abdomen. The filter will be pushed through the catheter and attached to the walls of the IVC. Contrast liquid will be used to make sure the filter is in the correct position.
- The catheter will be pulled out, and the filter will be left in. Your provider will press firmly on the area where the catheter went in, to stop any bleeding. After a few minutes, Your provider will put a bandage over the area.
What will happen after IVC filter placement?
- You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. When your healthcare provider says it is okay, you may be able to go home or taken to your hospital room.
- You may be able to return to your usual activity in 24 hours if the filter was inserted in your neck.
- Do not drive for 24 hours or lift anything heavy for 48 hours if the filter was inserted in your groin.
When is an IVC filter removed?
An IVC filter is usually removed when the risk for a blood clot has decreased. You may be able to take a blood thinner medicine and no longer need a filter. Your healthcare provider will tell you when you may be able to have the filter removed.
What are the risks of an IVC filter placement?
You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Your IVC and the tissue around it may be damaged during the procedure. Your filter may break, loosen, move, or get blocked. You may need another procedure to fix these problems.
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