What is IVC Filter Implant?
The inferior vena cava (IVC) is the largest vein in the body (located in the abdomen) carrying impure blood from the legs and other parts of the lower body to the heart. The heart sends this blood to the lungs, through the pulmonary arteries, for purification. Blood clots (embolus) that form in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) can travel through this path and block the pulmonary arteries (pulmonary embolism), which can be life-threatening. An IVC filter is a cone-shaped device implanted into the IVC to help trap a blood clot that has broken loose from the legs and prevent it from reaching the lungs. It allows the continuous flow of blood around the captured clot.
Procedure of IVC Filter Implant
The IVC filter is implanted into the vein under local anesthesia. Your doctor makes an incision in your groin or neck to insert a catheter (small tube) into the veins that lead to the IVC. X-ray imaging is used to track the path of the catheter into the IVC. Your doctor then passes the IVC filter through the catheter. The catheter is then removed and the incision is sutured.
Risks and Complications of IVC Filter Implant
Like all surgeries, IVC filter implantation may be associated with complications such as:
- Allergic reactions to the dye or anesthesia
- Injury at the site of catheter insertion
- Damage of vein
- Shifting of the IVC filter
- Excessive bleeding
- IVC filter itself may cause a clot
- Rarely, the clots may pass through the IVC filter