An IVC filter is a filter that is placed in the inferior vena cava (IVC), which is a large vein that connects your leg veins with your heart. The filter traps blood clots that can travel from your leg veins to the heart or lungs.
You must not have anything to eat or drink after midnight the day before your procedure. You will be given instructions on medications that are allowable to take the day of your procedure. If you are currently taking any anticoagulation medications (blood thinners) your doctor will instruct you on how many days before the procedure these medications should be stopped.
An intravenous catheter (IV) will be started for fluids and medications. Your neck or groin area will be cleansed with a special soap and you will receive numbing medication in this area. The doctor will make a small incision and insert a small tube (catheter) in the vein. The doctor will insert the filter through the tube to check the correct placement of the filter. Once correct placement of the filter has been verified the tube will be removed and pressure will be applied to the insertion site until bleeding has stopped.
The procedure takes approximately 30 – 60 minutes.

After your procedure, a bandage will be applied to your insertion site. A nurse will observe your insertion site for bleeding. After the bleeding has stopped, you will be able to resume your normal activities and go home. Your bandage can be removed after 24 hours. If your filter was placed through the vein in your leg, you should limit any heavy lifting or bending at your waist for at least two days.

Once at home, if you notice bleeding at your insertion site you should lie down and apply pressure to the site with a clean bandage for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the bleeding stops. If bleeding doesn’t stop, go to the nearest emergency department.

!Call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Leg coolness or numbness
  • Pain, swelling, redness or drainage at the insertion site