IVC Filter Demonstration

What are IVC filters used for?

Specialized doctors place IVC filters to keep blood clots in the legs from traveling to the lungs. If a blood clot from the legs travels to the lungs, it will block a blood vessel in the lungs. Blood clots in the lungs are dangerous because they can keep blood from getting to the lungs. This can cause problems breathing and sometimes sudden death.

Who may need an IVC filter?

Not everyone with a blood clot needs an IVC filter. In fact, most blood clots are treated with medicines called blood thinners. Blood thinners keep blood clots from getting bigger and prevent new blood clots from forming.

Some people cannot take blood thinners for various reasons. For other people, blood thinners do not work well enough. IVC filters can help protect these people from the blood clot traveling to their lungs. The IVC filter does not keep blood clots from getting bigger. The IVC filter does not stop new blood clots from forming. The IVC filter blocks blood clots in the pelvis or legs from traveling to the lungs.

How does the specialized doctor place an IVC filter inside me?

You will lay on your back on a special table. The skin on your neck or groin will be cleaned. The doctor will give you medicine to help you relax but you will be able to breathe on your own.

The doctor will numb your skin then put a thin plastic tube called a catheter into the large vein in your neck or groin. The doctor will inject special dye through the catheter to see the inside of the vein using moving X-rays. The doctor will put the IVC filter through the catheter and into the right place in the vein while watching with moving X-rays. The doctor will remove the catheter from your body then hold pressure to prevent bleeding.

Doctors often place IVC filters on patients who are in the hospital. If you are not in the hospital, you can go home within a few hours after IVC filter placement.

How long does it take to place an IVC filter?

It usually takes less than an hour to place an IVC filter.

How long does the IVC filter stay inside my body?

Some IVC filters are permanent and some IVC filters are removable. The IVC filter should stay in your body until you do not need it anymore. If you have a removable IVC filter, specialized doctors can collapse it and take it out with a small tube through the vein in the neck. The less time the IVC filter stays in your body, the easier it is to remove. 

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