For many years patients who suffer from deep vein thrombosis have been electively placing filters in their inferior vena cava to prevent a blood clot in a patient’s lower extremities from breaking off and entering their lungs. An IVC filter is commonly used when a patient does not respond well to blood thinners or is at risk of falling which could dislodge the blood clot.
Up until recently this procedure has been classified as a relatively safe procedure with very little risk of an adverse effect. Recent studies have shown that many of the filters on the market today have become increasingly susceptible to migration, perforation and disassembly. This means that the side effects of having an IVC implanted may be much more severe than was originally thought. In order to understand what this means and how it effects a possible patient you must understand how the filter is put in place and how it works.