IVC Filter

An IVC filter is a device designed to trap large blood clots while still allowing blood flow. It is inserted into the large vein in your abdomen, the inferior vena cava (IVC) to block clots that may form in the legs from getting to the lungs and causing a pulmonary embolism.

There are two types of IVC filters; permanent and retrievable. A retrievable filter can be removed up to a year after insertion. Your physician will determine the best type for your condition.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam.

Most patients are admitted through the Admissions and Testing Unit about two hours prior to test time. After you check in, Admissions and Testing staff will prep you for your exam, including checking vital signs, taking any needed laboratory tests, and starting an IV if necessary.

If you are taking any blood thinners, diabetic medication or are allergic to contrast, please notify us when your exam is scheduled, as there are special instructions that go along with these conditions.

What can I expect during the exam?

The exam is conducted by an interventional radiologist, a specially trained interventional radiology technologist and a nurse.

You will lie on the exam table, and a nurse will place you on a monitor and administer sedatives.

The area around your groin will be shaved and sterilely cleaned and draped. A flexible catheter will be inserted into the femoral vein and contrast will be injected to visualize the IVC. A catheter containing the filter will be advanced up the IVC to a point just below your kidneys. The filter will be "deployed" at this point and another contrast injection will be done to confirm placement.

The procedure will take approximately one hour.

What can I expect after the exam?

After the procedure, you will return to the Admission and Testing unit for bed rest and monitoring for approximately two hours. Detailed discharge instructions will be provided to you at this time.

Please arrange for a ride home after you are discharged, as you cannot drive for 24 hours after the exam.

If the access site becomes inflamed, starts bleeding or you notice your leg becomes cold or weak, please contact us at 217-788-3200. At the time of your exam, you will be provided with detailed instructions.