What are the properties and capabilities of 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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Desired quality of IVC filters

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are designed for their physical properties, clot-trapping effectiveness, ability to preserve flow in the IVC, and ease of placement. Of the currently available filters, each type has some but not all of the following properties or capabilities:

  • The filter should be able to trap most, if not all, thrombi to prevent new or recurrent pulmonary emboli (PE)

  • The filter should be nonthrombogenic and should maintain caval patency

  • The filter should be made of a biocompatible material that is durable and noncorrosive

  • The filter's shape and structural integrity should be maintainable for a long time

  • The filter's delivery system should have a low profile and allow easy placement

  • Clot trapping should be reasonably effective even if the filter deployment is suboptimal

  • The filter should not migrate after deployment

  • No perforation of the IVC should occur

  • The filter should be nonferromagnetic to allow magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to be performed after its placement

  • The filter may be retrievable

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