After Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement

You had a procedure in which your doctor placed a filter in one of your veins. This filter will trap blood clots that migrate from your legs, keeping them away from your heart and lungs. Your doctor recommended this procedure because you have developed blood clots in the past. During the procedure, the doctor inserted a thin plastic tube (called a catheter) through your leg or neck until it reached a large vein, called the inferior vena cava, in your abdomen. This vein connects your leg veins to your heart. Through this tube the filter was placed in the inferior vena cava to keep clots from going to your lungs and heart.

Home care

  • Take it easy for 2 to 3 days after your surgery. Rest in bed or on the couch. Get up only to go to the bathroom.

  • Limit bending at the waist for 2 days after the procedure.

  • Gradually increase your activities, but don’t climb stairs or lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for 3 days after the procedure.

  • Drink plenty of fluids, unless your doctor tells you otherwise. This will help flush the dye used during the procedure out of your body.

  • Don’t drive for 3 days after the procedure or until your doctor says it’s OK. Don’t drive while you are taking opioid pain medications.

  • Ask your doctor when you can return to work. Many patients return within a week after the procedure.

  • If you feel like you are going to cough, sneeze, or have a bowel movement, press gently on your incision site.

  • If your incision starts to bleed, lie flat and have someone apply pressure to the incision site. After the bleeding has stopped, continue to lie flat with your legs straight for an hour.

  • Take all medications exactly as directed by your doctor.


When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever above 100°F (37.7°C)

  • Signs of infection (redness, swelling, or warmth at the incision site)

  • Drainage from your incision

  • Changes in color, temperature, feeling, or movement in either foot

  • Constant or increasing pain or numbness in your leg

  • Leg swelling that does not improve overnight

  • Bleeding, bruising, or a large swelling where the catheter was inserted

  • Blood in your urine

  • Black or tarry stools

  • Shortness of breath

Important: If you have swelling in your neck, call 911 immediately!