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Inferior Vena Cava Filter

What is an Inferior Vena Cava Filter?

Your child has been referred to Interventional Radiology for the placement of an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter because your child has a blood clot in his / her leg.

You will be given special eating and drinking instructions when scheduling the procedure.


An inferior vena cava filter is placed to help prevent the blood clots moving from the legs to the heart or lung.

The inferior vena cava, or IVC, is a large vein that enters the bottom part of the heart. Venous blood from the lower portion of the body drains into the IVC. The IVC then returns blood back to the heart.

Before the Procedure

In preparation for the procedure your child will not be allowed to eat food for eight hours before the procedure and can have clear fluids until four hours before the procedure.

During the Procedure

A parent will be escorted with your child to the Interventional Radiology suite where you will meet the radiologist. The anesthesiologist will place a soft mask over your child's face with "sleepy gas." When your child falls asleep you will be escorted to the surgery waiting area until the procedure is complete.

The interventional radiologist places a small needle, then a catheter into a vein in the groin or neck using fluoroscopy, or "moving X-ray." The IVC filter is threaded through the catheter into the inferior vena cava below the kidneys.

Some IVC filters can be removed at a later date when your child's doctor feels it is safe to do so. Other IVC filters are permanent.  

After the Procedure

When the procedure is complete, your child will be taken to the post-anesthesia recovery unit where he / she will awake. You will join your child as soon as he / she is fully awake.

Your child will be able to return to normal activity within 48 to 72 hours. 

Last Updated 06/2019

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