Weight Loss with Increased Fullness.
Welcome ActiLean Visitor to Health Education on the Internet

Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement

 What is inferior vena cava filter placement?
 When is it used?
 How do I prepare for the procedure?
 What happens during the procedure?
 What happens after the procedure?
 What are the risks of this procedure?

Heart Catheterization: Illustration
Heart Catheterization: IllustrationClick here to view a full size picture.

What is inferior vena cava filter placement?

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement is a procedure used to put a small filter in the large abdominal vein that returns blood to the heart from the lower part of your body. This vein is called the inferior vena cava. The filter can trap blood clots and keep them from reaching your lungs. Your healthcare provider will use a soft thin tube called a catheter to put the filter into your vein.

When is it used?

IVC filter placement may be done to prevent pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that forms in one part of your body and travels in the bloodstream to your lungs. The blood clot can block an artery in your lungs. It can be a life-threatening problem because it stops blood from then reaching part of your lungs and other parts of your body. The lack of blood can damage your lungs and other parts of your body.

You may need this procedure if:

Blood clotting problems and pulmonary embolism are usually treated or prevented with medicine called an anticoagulant, or blood thinner. The medicine makes it harder for your blood to clot. It can stop a clot from getting bigger and stop more clots from forming. However, there may be reasons you cannot take an anticoagulant. Or anticoagulant treatment may not be working well enough and you keep having more blood clots. In this case, IVC filter placement is an alternative treatment. The filter does not stop clots from forming, but it can keep clots from reaching your lungs.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

What happens during the procedure?

This procedure is usually done at the hospital.

You will be given medicine to help you relax, but you will be awake during the procedure. You will also be given a shot of anesthetic to numb the area where the catheter will be inserted.

Your healthcare provider will put the catheter through your skin and into a blood vessel in your groin or neck. Ultrasound or X-rays will be used to see the catheter and guide it to the right place in your vein. A special kind of liquid (called contrast or dye) may be injected through the catheter to help your provider see the catheter with X-rays.

After the IVC filter is inserted into the inferior vena cava through the catheter, the catheter will be removed.

At the end of the procedure, your healthcare provider will remove the catheter and put pressure on the area where the catheter was inserted (the puncture site) to control any bleeding.

What happens after the procedure?

After the procedure you may stay in a recovery area for at least a few hours to make sure the puncture site is not bleeding. The puncture site may be bruised and sore for a few days.

Ask your healthcare provider:

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

Some IVC filters are permanent and some are temporary. If the filter is temporary, you will have another procedure to remove it with a special catheter at a later time.

What are the risks of this procedure?

Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:

Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.

healthinformatics info


Athanasoulis, CA, Kaufman, JA, Halpern, EF, et al. Inferior vena caval filters: Review of a 26-year single-center clinical experience. Radiology 2000; 216:54.

Baglin, TP, Brush, J, Streiff, M. Guidelines on use of vena cava filters. Br J Haematol 2006; 134:590.

Eight-year follow-up of patients with permanent vena cava filters in the prevention of pulmonary embolism: the PREPIC (Prevention du Risque d'Embolie Pulmonaire par Interruption Cave) randomized study. Circulation 2005; 112:416.

http://www.drugs.com/cg/inferior-vena-cava-filter-placement.html. Accessed 08/03/2010.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1894721/. Accessed 08/03/2010.

Raju, S, Hollis, K, Neglen, P. Obstructive lesions of the inferior vena cava: clinical features and endovenous treatment. J Vasc Surg 2006; 44:820.

Rogers, NA, Nguyen, L, Minniefield, NE, et al. Fracture and embolization of an inferior vena cava filter strut leading to cardiac tamponade. Circulation 2009; 119:2535.

Related Topics

Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Heart Catheterization

Pulmonary Embolism

divider line

Last Modified: 2014-04-18

Last Reviewed: 2014-04-13

Website Updated: October 2014

Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth. © 2014 RelayHealth and/or one of its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

divider line

Return to:

A button for the link to the top level index page for this topic area.

A button for the link to the top level home page.

Legal Notice: Use of these Health Education Materials signifies your agreement to the enclosed ("linked") terms. If you do not agree to all of these terms and conditions of use, do not use this site.

COPYRIGHT © 1996-2010 and patented technologies ((U.S. patents 6,374,274, 6,839,881, and pending patents) ) HEALTH INFORMATICS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
All Rights Reserved.