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Vena Cava Filter Placement

Indication: To prevent pulmonary embolism in the presence of deep venous thrombosis (blood clots in the large deep veins of the legs that could then travel to the lungs or heart.)

Preoperative Evaluation: After a focused history and physical exam, a venous duplex examination is reviewed to look for blood clots in the leg veins. 

Procedure: The femoral vein (large leg vein located in the groin) has a hollow wire, called a catheter, inserted into it. Dye is injected through the catheter and an x-ray picture of the inferior vena cava (the largest vein in the body, which leads directly to the heart) is taken. After the patients anatomy is demonstrated on the x-ray, a small umbrella shaped metal device (the filter) is placed into the vena cava to catch any traveling blood clots before they can reach the heart or lungs.

Length of Stay: The skin puncture site that the catheter was placed through is observed for two hours after which normal activity may be resumed.

Recovery: There are otherwise no restrictions and an inpatient stay is not required unless other treatments are required (for instance, the administration of blood thinners).

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