The inferior vena cava is the largest vein in the body. It is supposed to carry blood from the lower part of the body to the heart and lungs. If there is a problem with the inferior vena cava, then you will have a hard time breathing. The most common issue with the inferior vena cava is an embolism. This is when a blood clot from the leg, often the result of a condition called deep vein thrombosis, is delivered to the heart or lungs and causes a blockage. If left unaddressed, this blockage can cause severe complications and in some cases, death. The best way to prevent this from occurring is by receiving an inferior vena cava filter.
An inferior vena cava filter is a small device placed in the vena cava vein near the abdomen. This cone-shaped device will catch any blood clots that move through the vein before they are delivered to the heart or lungs. If a clot is caught in the filter, blood will still be able to flow in the inferior vena cava. Once caught, the blood clot will eventually be broken down by natural anticoagulants in the body. The inferior vena cava filter is one of the most effective ways for patients to prevent a pulmonary embolism.
The best candidates for the inferior vena cava filter are people that are still getting blood clots in their legs on a regular basis despite taking anticoagulant medication. This filter is also an excellent option for patients unable to take anticoagulant medication.
The entire inferior vena cava filter placement procedure is typically performed through a catheter. The procedure begins with you getting a local anesthetic to numb the area where the catheter is to be inserted. Once the catheter is in place, the surgeon will guide a thin wire directly into your blood vessel. The inferior vena cava filter is then inserted into the catheter and guided to the desired location using some combination of x-ray, ultrasound, and iodine contrast techniques. Once the filter is in place, the catheter will be removed.
Have you been unresponsive to or unable to take anticoagulant medications? An inferior vena cava filter could help you reduce your risk of pulmonary embolism and lead a happier, healthier life. Contact Peripheral Vascular Associates today for more information! We’re proud to provide this treatment and many more to patients in the San Antonio area of Texas.