Inferior Vena Cava Filters in the Treatment of Patients with Venous Thromboembolic Disease
Publication Date: September 8, 2020
This patient summary means to discuss key recommendations from the American College of Cardiology, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, American Heart Association, Society for Vascular Surgery, and Society for Vascular Medicine for Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters in Venous Thromboembolism (VTE). This patient summary is limited to adults 18 years of age and older and should not be used as a reference for children.
- Venous thromboembolic disease (VTE) refers to blood clots, usually in the lower half of the body, that can stop blood flow. If a clot travels into the lungs it causes a pulmonary embolism (PE).
- We will use the following abbreviations throughout this summary:
- Inferior Vena Cava (IVC)
- Pulmonary embolism (PE)
- Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
- Some of the most common causes of blood clots are major trauma, major surgery, and being bedridden or confined for a period of time, such as when on a long airplane trip.
- Symptoms include leg pain, swelling or color changes, trouble breathing, rapid pulse, and dizziness.
- This patient summary focuses on the use of IVC filters to catch clots before they reach the heart.
- Symptoms in a high-risk setting can lead to an evaluation for blood clots.
- Ultrasound imaging is usually used to identify blood clots.
- Computed tomography with a dye infusion is the best way to identify a PE.
- Anticoagulation with blood thinners is the treatment of choice.
- If anticoagulation is not advisable, an IVC filter is the next best option.
- IVC filters are inserted through a small incision in a vein in your groin.
- If your risk of VTE has decreased, the IVC filter can be removed.
- This decision should be made by you and your doctor weighing the risks and benefits involved.
- As long as you have an IVC filter in place or are at risk of VTE, you should be followed by your doctor.
- IVC: Inferior Vena Cava
- PE: Pulomnary Embolism
- VTE: Venous Thromboembolism
Kaufman JA, Barnes GD, Chaer RA, Cuschieri J, Eberhardt RT, Johnson MS, Kuo WT, Murin S, Patel S, Rajasekhar A, Weinberg I, Gillespie DL. Society of Interventional Radiology Clinical Practice Guideline for Inferior Vena Cava Filters in the Treatment of Patients with Venous Thromboembolic Disease: Developed in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, American Heart Association, Society for Vascular Surgery, and Society for Vascular Medicine. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2020 Oct;31(10):1529-1544. doi: 10.1016/j.jvir.2020.06.014. Epub 2020 Sep 9. PMID: 32919823.
The information in this patient summary should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.