An inferior vena cava filter, or IVC filter for short, is a device surgically implanted into the inferior vena cava, which is the main vein leading from the lower body back into the heart. IVC filters are designed to prevent blood clots from making their way into the heart (pulmonary embolisms).
What an IVC filter Looks Like
There are several variations, some more complicated than others. The ironic thing is that some of the more recently developed filters, marketed as improvements, actually are more simplified and work less well than their more complicated predecessors.
These devices are theoretically only supposed to be used for very high risk patients, but over the last decade, the manufacturers have been marketing them aggressively for all kinds of conditions, including for deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Some manufacturers and doctors are pushing these devices on patients who do not even have any real risk of pulmonary embolism.
Instead, they are using and recommending using these devices prophylactically (that is, before any problems arise).
There is no evidence that prophylactic implantation is effective.
Learn More About IVC Filters
Additional Articles on IVC Filters
What is the evidence that IVC filters work?
Should I have my IVC filter removed?
Are IVC filters appropriate for bariatric (weight-loss) surgery patients?
Are IVC filters appropriate for trauma victims?
Can I sue the manufacturer of my IVC filter?
Can I sue my doctor for implanting an IVC filter?