Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Umbrella Placement

Why is the doctor performing this procedure?

To prevent a blood clot from traveling from the legs into the lung circulation. A blood clot in the lungs is called a pulmonary embolism.

What is the procedure?

The inferior vena cava (IVC) is the large vein that takes un-oxygenated blood from the lower half of the body and delivers it to the heart, where it is pumped to the lungs for oxygenation. An IVC umbrella is a tiny metal device that resembles an umbrella, but without the fabric. This umbrella is capable of filtering out harmful blood clots that can cause pulmonary embolism.

IVC umbrella placement is a catheter-based procedure that allows placement of the filtering umbrella in the IVC. A catheter is inserted into a vein, usually in the groin or neck. It is then advanced into the IVC. Dye is injected into the IVC and x-rays are taken. Then a catheter with the umbrella device is inserted and advanced into the IVC. Once properly positioned, the catheter is removed, and the umbrella device remains in place. Dye is injected into a separate catheter again, and x-rays are repeated to assure proper placement of the umbrella. Then the catheter is removed, pressure is applied to the catheter site to stop bleeding, and the patient rests flat for several hours.

Where is the procedure performed?

In the Cardiac Catheterization Lab or Interventional Radiology Suite.

How long does this procedure take?

IVC umbrella placement usually takes 1-2 hours.