What are inferior vena cava (IVC) filters?

Updated: Oct 31, 2020
  • Author: Gary P Siskin, MD; Chief Editor: Kyung J Cho, MD, FACR, FSIR  more...
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Answer

Answer

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement is most commonly indicated for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE) when anticoagulation therapy is contraindicated.

The first image below demonstrates an IVC of normal size without a thrombus, but there is a circumaortic left renal vein and an inflow defect at the origin of the right renal vein. If the infrarenal segment of the inferior vena cava is too short for a filter placement, the filter should be placed above the renal veins. The second image below shows one type of IVC filter (titanium Greenfield filter) in place.

Anteroposterior image from an inferior venacavogra Anteroposterior image from an inferior venacavographic examination demonstrates an inferior vena cava of normal diameter without thrombus. In addition, the inflow from the renal veins can be seen at the level of the L1 vertebral body.
Greenfield filter. Greenfield filter.

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