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Interventional & Vascular Radiology
IVC/Blood Clot Filter

Inserted through a small incision and placed in the inferior vena cava in the leg, an IVC filter prevents blood clots from breaking loose and reaching the heart.

Lower extremity blood clots can typically be treated with blood thinning medication. In cases where the blood thinning medication is not a good option for the patient or the medication is not working, an inferior vena cava filter may be utilized.

An IVC filter resembles a small metal basket about an inch long. During a quick and very safe procedure, the filter is inserted into one of your main veins called the inferior vena cava. This vein brings the blood from your legs, feet and pelvis back to your heart. If there are blood clots in your legs or pelvis, they can travel up the inferior vena cava to your lungs where blood is being returned to be re-oxygenated. With an IVC filter in place, the basket will help trap the clots and prevent them from being transported to your lungs.

The placement of an IVC filter is performed by an OIA interventional radiologist who uses fluoroscopy to skillfully guide the insertion. The treatment effectively reduces the risk of pulmonary embolism in most people when complemented by drug therapies.

Usually, the consistency of blood remains liquid enough for the blood cells and other molecules to travel smoothly through the arteries and veins. Sometimes, however, clots will form in a process called coagulation. When clots or other blood-borne clumps of tissue migrate through the circulatory system, they are called emboli; a single migrating clot is called an embolism.

A pulmonary embolism is a clot that travels through the venous system and eventually lodges in the pulmonary artery which carries blood from the heart to the lungs. This can obstruct the blood supply to the lungs which is potentially fatal and should be treated as an emergency. Many pulmonary emboli result from a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is the formation of a blood clot in the veins embedded deep in the muscles, usually in the lower leg and sometimes in the pelvis or groin.

For further information regarding this test, including preparation and what to expect during your exam, please visit the Overlake Hospital Medical Center Interventional Radiology website.

Overlake Imaging Associates applies advanced technology to your care through subspecialty
radiology interpretations and interventional treatments. As the Eastside community’s oldest and
most physician-referred radiology group, we serve patients from Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond,
Kirkland, Woodinville, Seattle and the surrounding area.

To schedule an appointment or obtain medical records, please call
Overlake Hospital Medical Center Imaging at 425.688.0100

Overlake Imaging Associates P.C., 1417 116th Ave NE, Suite 212, Bellevue, WA 98004, 425.502.8362
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