Your inferior vena cava (IVC) is the vein that brings blood from your lower body back up to your heart. If you’re immobile for long periods of time or you have peripheral artery disease, you’re at greater risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. This is condition where a blood clot develops in a deep vein — usually in your legs. These clots can travel through the vena cava into your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism (blockage in your lung).
The University of Miami Health System interventional radiologists can place a filter into your vena cava, called an IVC filter, to stop blood clots. This helps protect your lungs and heart from dangerous clots.
Who is a Candidate?
Your doctor may recommend an IVC filter if you’re at risk of blood clots, and you can’t take blood thinners due to side effects or because of other health conditions.
What to Expect
Your interventional radiologist may tell you not to eat or take certain medicines, like aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), before your procedure. Always tell your doctor what medicines you’re taking, including vitamins or herbs.
You’re given either sedation (so you’ll feel relaxed) or general anesthesia (you’ll be asleep) for IVC filter placement. Your doctor also numbs the area where they will make a small incision using local anesthesia.
Once the anesthesia has taken effect, your doctor makes an incision in a vein in your neck or leg. They insert a catheter (thin, flexible tube) through the incision. Using X-ray guidance, your interventional radiologist guides the catheter into your vena cava. They push the filter through the catheter and into the vein, and the filter expands into place.
Once in place, your doctor removes the catheter and closes the incision. You can go home a few hours after your procedure (outpatient procedure). Typically, you can resume normal activities in a day or two.
Why Choose UHealth?
Expert care from highly trained interventional radiologists. Our interventional radiologists and radiology specialists are experts in a variety of minimally invasive procedures — everything from treatments to clear blocked blood vessels to advanced cancer therapies like NanoKnife®.
Leading-edge imaging care in South Florida. Our doctors are also researchers discovering new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment. That means you can get some of today’s most promising advancements through clinical trials. You benefit from the latest developments that are fast-tracked from the lab to the bedside.
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