An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a medical device designed to prevent blood clots that form in the legs from reaching the lungs. We recommend this treatment for our patients diagnosed with DVT or pulmonary embolism, who should not take blood thinners.
We place the IVC filter, which looks like a mini egg beater, into the large vein in the abdomen. It allows liquid blood to flow through but catches any clots.
Permanent and Retrievable Filters
IVC filters used to be only permanent, but now we have the option of using retrievable filters. Both types can stay permanently if needed, but if there’s a chance your clot risk will eventually pass, a retrievable one is a good option. There are certain risks to having an IVC filter, so the retrievable filter is the better option for some people.
Your Treatment Experience
An IVC filter placement is performed in a hospital or outpatient facility. It generally takes about 30 minutes. We use a IV sedation so you’ll sleep through it. We insert a catheter into the femoral vein in your groin, and use image guidance to locate the placement. We push the filter through the catheter in the desired location.
Afterward, you’ll spend a few hours in recovery until you’re medically ready to go home. You may have some pain or bruising at the incision, which you can treat with over-the-counter pain meds. You’ll need to avoid strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours.
The IVC filter does not prevent blood clots; it prevents blood clots in your legs from reaching your lungs, becoming a pulmonary embolism. You will need to continue following your doctor’s advice about preventing blood clots, which may include diet, exercise, and blood thinners.
Get Treated Sooner
Because we’re highly specialized, with seven treatment locations in the St. Louis area, we’re able to schedule your exam and treatment much sooner than other facilities. Call us at 314-849-0923 or complete this contact form to get started.