IVC Filter Removal
Date: 2020-01-05 14:17:19
When surgically implanted, this tiny device is designed to play a critical role. “IVC filters are placed usually in scenarios where people have blood clots that we try to prevent from traveling to the lungs,” explained Dr. Chris Johnson, an interventional radiologist on the medical staff of Lee Health
The Inferior vena cava filter, or IVC filter for short, is placed in the vena cava—a large vein that carries blood to the heart. “During the procedure, what we end up doing is going down from the neck to that vein, and we recapture it into a little tiny tube, where it synchs down into a very narrow line, and then we can remove it out safely,” he said.
Whether the blood clot is found in the leg or already in the lung, the IVC filter can keep the clot from moving or getting worse. “This is actually meant to be above the level where the clot develops, so if the clot were to travel up, it gets caught in the filter before it has a chance to travel to the lungs,” said Dr. Johnson.
Once the clot is no longer a risk, interventional radiologists will remove the IVC filter. “Back when these were originally developed, they weren’t designed to be removed, but now the new way filters are designed to have retrieval mechanisms with hooks so we can take them back out of the body and get the patient back to the way they were before,” he said.
The filter typically stays in the patient for three months before it can be removed in an outpatient procedure. A temporary device that can provide a safe and long-term solution.
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