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What are Inferior Vena Cava (IVS) Filters and the Procedures associated with them?


What are they?

An inferior vena cava filter or IVC filter is used to prevent blood clots from entering the lungs. The inferior vena cava is the name of a large vein in the middle of the human body, the IVC filter is put inside it by a surgery. A blood clot that forms in such a case by the thickening and clumping together of blood is called the deep vein thrombosis (DVT). It causes pain, swelling and tenderness inside the body. If a clot reaches the lung it can cause a blockage in the vessels, this condition is called pulmonary embolism. It causes shortness of breath and may even result in death if not treated in time.

Market for IVC filters

The market driving factor for IVC filters is the increase in the cases of cardiovascular diseases globally. According to WHO, 17.3 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2008 and the annual death rate is expected to reach 23.3 million by 2030.  The Global Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters Market was evaluated at USD 0.55 billion in 2015 and is expected to continue to grow at a steady pace. The North American region is the largest shareholder in the global market for IVC filters with almost 40% of the global value, while Europe claims follows with 25% of the global market. However, Asia-Pacific is the fastest growing region with a CAGR of 13% and will soon leave the others behind, becoming the dominant region in the market due to increasing geriatric population and increased focus on health infrastructure.


  • Preparation: The blood of the patient is tested to determine whether the blood clots normally or not. The patient is advised to tell the surgeon about any allergies, recent illness or any medications that may affect the procedure. The patient is also advised to eat a light meal on the night before surgery.
  • Surgery: A nurse puts the patient on sedation before the procedure. An interventional radiologist, with the guidance from an imaging system, places a catheter inside the inferior vena cava, reaching the abdomen from neck or leg. After checking that the catheter is in correct position the surgeon remotely releases the IVC filter which expends and attaches itself to the walls of the vein.

To remove the same filter, a specialized catheter is required which has a small hook for locking on to the filter, closing it and removing it from the body.

  • Recovery: The patient could resume the normal activities after 24 hours, but it is heavily advised not to lift heavy objects, put stress on the body and climb stairs for 2 days.

Risks associated

  • The surgery carries a risk of infection, however small it might be.
  • A bruising or damage to a blood vessel might occur at the hands of an inexperienced surgeon or due to defective equipment.
  • Sometimes IVC filters are flooded with clots and cause swelling in the legs.

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