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Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter

What is an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter?
A small metal device that looks like a tiny umbrella (without the material).

Why do I need an IVC filter?
The filter is placed into the inferior vena cava (the large vein which returns the blood from the lower half of the body to the heart) enabling it to "trap" blood clots arising from the legs and preventing them from traveling to the lungs.

How do I prepare?
1 . Do not eat any solid food after midnight on the night before your procedure. You may drink clear fluids and take your medications.
2. If you a diabetic and take insulin, ask your doctor about modifying your insulin dose for the day of your procedure.
3. If you take any blood thinner, like Coumadin, you must tell your doctor so that it can be stopped appropriately. Bring, all your medications with you.
4. If you are allergic to contrast (x-ray dye) or iodine, let your doctor know as soon as possible. Your doctor can let the interventional radiologist know about your allergy a few days before your procedure and steps can be taken, if necessary, to pre-medicate you.

What will I experience?
(1) IV sedation - Medication will be administered using the IV that has been placed prior to your test,

(2) Injection of catheter into the vein in the right groin - The interventional staff will wash the skin where the catheter will be inserted and this may involve shaving off the hair of that small specific area. The area is usually in the right groin. The radiologist will use a local anesthetic (similar to what your dentist uses to numb your mouth) in the skin and deeper tissues. After that, you should only feel pressure when the catheter is inserted into the vein in the numbed area. Using an x-ray screen - like a TV, the radiologist will guide the catheter through your body to the inferior vena cava.

(3) Injection of x-ray dye into the inferior vena cava (a transient warm sensation) - After the catheter is placed into the vein, contrast will be injected through that catheter while x-ray pictures are being taken. You may feel warm inside while the contrast is being injected, but it lasts only a few seconds. Usually, several contrast injections and x-rays are needed to complete the exam,

(4) Placement of the IVC filter (this is not felt), and

(5) Repeat injection of x-ray dye to confirm the placement of the IVC filter - After the procedure is completed and all x-rays are taken, a member of the radiology interventional team (radiologist, nurse, or technologist) will remove the catheter from your vein. Removing the catheter should not hurt. Firm pressure will be put on the place the catheter was inserted for 10-20 minutes. This will stop the vein from bleeding.

What do I do after my procedure?
If you are an Outpatient, you will be assigned a room to stay in for 6-12 hours after the procedure. Hospital-staff will watch over you to make sure you are all right. After this observation period is over you will be allowed to go home if the doctor says it is all right. Have someone drive you home after the procedure. You may not drive yourself home.

After you go home:
1. Relax and take it easy for 24 hours.
2. Drink plenty of fluids.
3. Resume your regular diet unless your doctor specifies otherwise.
4. Keep a bandage on the catheter insertion site for-a day.
5. Do not drive or run machinery for at least 24 hours.
6. Do not do any strenuous exercise or lifting for at least two days.
7. Do not take a hot bath or shower for at least 12 hours.
8. Do not smoke for at least 24 hours.


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