The Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) is the largest vein in the body. It carries all of the blood from the lower body back to the heart.
What is an IVC Filter?
- a device that is inserted into the Inferior Vena Cava to stop lower body Blood Clots (DVT-deep vein thrombosis) from traveling (embolizing) to the right side of the heart and then into the lungs. When the clot does travel, it is called a PE (Pulmonary embolism). It can be suddenly fatal if the embolus (clot) is large
- A filter is not the first line of treatment for a blood clot
How an IVC Filter is Done
A long catheter is inserted into a leg or neck vein. The filter is put in this tube. When the proper location is identified by x-ray or ultrasound, the tube is partially pulled back allowing the filter to come out and open up. There are many shapes and brands of filters. In the past IVC filters were permanent; however IVC filters are now removed as soon as they are no longer needed. If left in long term 10+ years, they can eventually cause blockages on the IVC.
IVC Filter Indications
- IVC filter is inserted in certain conditions:
- It can be used with or in place of blood thinners
- If Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners) can’t be used, for instance if the patient has a bleeding ulcer
- If a patient has had recent surgery where there is too high a risk of severe post op bleeding when blood thinners are needed
- If the blood clot is large and has a free floating tail that might easily break off even if blood thinners are used
- If the patient has such poor lung or heart function that any PE would be fatal or if any additional clot to the lungs would be fatal
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in an IVC Filter, call 704-544-5245 to schedule a consultation with Vein Specialists of the Carolinas. Our practice serves Charlotte, Gastonia, and surrounding areas.