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, a blood clot that 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).
At the University of Miami Health System, expert physicians 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.
Your doctor may recommend an IVC filter if you’re at risk of blood clots, but you can’t take blood thinners due to side effects or because of other health conditions.
What to Expect
Your physician 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 (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.
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 surgeon guides the catheter into your vena cava. They push the filter through the catheter and into the vein, and the filter expands into place.
Your doctor removes the catheter and closes the incision. You can go home a few hours after your procedure. Typically, you can resume normal activities in a day or two.
Why Choose UHealth?
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.
Advanced, hard-to-find procedures. Our doctors are committed to caring for every patient. That’s why they offer the latest treatments, including limb salvage, endovascular grafting and thoracic outlet decompression, to improve your blood flow.
All the care you need, from one physician. Our vascular surgeons perform a wide range of procedures so you can have the same physician for any vascular care you need as your condition changes. Whether you need a stent replaced or a vein grafted, you can always turn to the doctor you trust.
Experienced doctors, reliable results. UHealth vascular surgeons perform hundreds of stent placements, angiograms and more every year. You can rely on their experience to help you avoid complications and have a positive outcome.
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