An inferior vena cava filter can save lives. The IVC is the largest vein in the body. An IVC filter is a small device placed to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs, which can be life-threatening.
At Advanced Heart and Vascular Associates, Nader Chadda, MD, specializes in vascular intervention, including IVC filter placement. If you have a history of blood clots, or if you’re at risk of blood clots and cannot take blood thinners, IVC may be an option. To find out, schedule a visit with Dr. Chadda for a comprehensive evaluation.
The dangers of blood clots
When a blood vessel is injured on the inside or outside, blood clots form to prevent excessive bleeding. Clots are normally broken down by the body over time, but when this doesn’t happen, issues might occur.
One such problem is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which blood clots grow deep within a leg vein. DVTs can form when a person is immobile for an extended period of time, such as on a long flight. Patients with a medical condition that affects clotting are at an increased risk of blood clots and DVT.
The biggest risk comes when a blood clot breaks off and travels to another part of the body. This is referred to as an embolus. If an embolus reaches the lungs, it may block one of the pulmonary arteries, resulting in a life-threatening pulmonary embolism (PE).
IVC filter placement
When we detect a DVT, we prescribe blood thinners, which dissolve them before they become pulmonary embolisms. Blood thinners, however, aren’t suitable for everyone. An IVC filter may be an option for preventing blood clots from traveling to the lungs and causing PE.
The IVC is a basket-like filter that we can place in the inferior vena cava. The IVC brings deoxygenated blood from the lower body back to the heart. As the blood flows past the filter, the filter catches the clot, stopping it from reaching the lungs.
Dr. Chadda can implant an IVC filter permanently or temporarily, depending on your needs. As soon as the filter is no longer needed, Dr. Chadda will remove it.
Permanent and temporary IVC filter placement
IVC filters were previously only available as permanently implanted devices. Newer filters, known as optionally retrievable filters, can be left in place permanently or removed from the blood vessel at a later time.
When the risk of a clot traveling to the lung has passed, Dr. Chadda may recommend removing the IVC filter.
Who’s at risk for deep vein thrombosis?
You may need an IVC filter placement if you have a history of DVT and:
- Are a smoker
- Have cancer
- Are obese
- Are pregnant
- Have reduced mobility
- Have venous disease
- Have a clotting disorder
- Have high blood pressure
- Have a history of blood clots
- Have a medical condition like COPD
- Take medication that increases clotting risk
If Dr. Chadda determines that you’re at risk for DVT, he will discuss your options.
To discuss blood clot prevention, call our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chadda. We have offices in Hudson, Brooksville, and Land O’ Lakes, Florida. You’re welcome to also book online. We offer in-person and telehealth appointments.