Venocavagram and IVC Filter Placement


You will receive instructions from staff at the interventional radiologist's office at least a day before the procedure. You may have blood drawn for pre-procedure testing at either the hospital or a local clinic. Staff will advise you if changes in your regular medication schedule are necessary. Make sure you let the staff know if you have any allergies to medication or to contrast material that may be used to enhance x-ray images. You will be asked to not eat or drink anything after midnight on the night before your procedure. In most cases you should take any medications that you usually take, especially blood pressure medications. If you are on any blood thinning medication such as Aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix, Lovenox, or Heparin you should check with the staff about when you should stop the medication. If you have any allergies to medications or to contrast material make sure to let the staff know that as well. Be sure to have someone available to drive you home afterwards.


A venocava filter is designed to trap large blood clots while preserving blood flow. The Interventional Radiologist inserts a catheter into the femoral or jugular vein and injects contrast dye through the catheter to visualize the vein. The IVC filter is then advanced into the venocava vein below the renal vein so it does not obstruct the flow to the kidney. The IVC filter is placed in the inferior venocava so it will catch emboli or blood clots from the lower extremities.


The radiologist will inject a local anesthetic in the groin or neck and insert a needle and catheter into the vein. Then the IVC filter is inserted.


An IV line will be inserted into your arm so that you can be given a mild sedative and other medications as necessary during the procedure. Although this sedative will make you feel relaxed and drowsy, you will probably remain awake during the procedure. Devices to monitor your heart rate and blood pressure will be attached to your body.

Next, depending on which approach your physician is using for the procedure, your groin or neck will be cleaned, shaved, and numbed with a local anesthetic. The head of your bed will be flat and you will need to lay with your legs straight. You will be asked to take deep breaths in and hold your breaths while x-ray pictures are taken. When the procedure is completed, you will be moved back to the Heart and Vascular Unit. You may feel groggy from the sedative. The catheter insertion site may be bruised and sore. If the catheter was inserted in your groin, you may need to lie in bed with your legs straight for several hours.

For several hours, your catheter site will be checked for bleeding or swelling and your blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored. If a contrast material was used during the procedure, you will urinate often to rid your body of this material. You may be asked to drink extra fluids.

After you return home, you should rest and drink plenty of fluids. You should avoid lifting heavy objects, strenuous exercise, and smoking for at least 24 hours ( and smoking you should avoid permanently since this is the cause of Atherosclerosis). If bleeding begins where the catheter was inserted, you should lie down, apply pressure to the site and call your physician. Any change in color to your leg or arm, pain, or a warm feeling in the area where the catheter was inserted should be reported to your physician.