Vena Cava Filter

A vena cava filter is a treatment for an acute blood clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis) or lung (pulmonary embolism). One of several treatments for these conditions, it typically is reserved for patients who cannot take blood thinning medications (the most common treatment for clots). It involves the use of a special filter, which is placed directly in the vena cava (large vein in abdomen) to catch any clot that may break off from the leg vein and prevent it from traveling to the lung. Some types of filters are permanent and others can be temporary and later retrieved. Acute clots in the leg or lung normally require immediate evaluation and usually hospitalization. If you suspect you have a blood clot, seek medical care immediately either through your primary physician or local hospital emergency room.


UAB Medicine’s vascular specialists provide expert treatment of all types of circulatory conditions using a broad range of services, including medical therapy, minimally invasive endovascular procedures, and open surgical reconstruction. Our specialty-trained surgeons and physicians are leaders in their field and have excellent track records in treating some of the most complex vascular diseases and conditions. That expertise is backed by the latest and most advanced technology, facilities, and treatment options, as well as our dedication to patient-centered care. A wide range of specialists work together through the UAB Advanced Limb Preservation program to prevent the need for amputation, preserve maximum function in the lower limbs in people with peripheral artery disease (PAD), and treat associated medical conditions such as diabetes.

Our vascular experts confer extensively with each patient to determine a specific diagnosis and treatment plan based on medical history, physical exam, and a variety of non-invasive testing that includes ultrasound, Doppler with plethysmography, CT scans, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). We also employ three-dimensional overlay fusion technology, in which pre-operative imaging is overlaid with images captured during surgery, providing greater accuracy and improved outcomes. In addition, we maintain an operating room designed specifically for vascular therapies, where we perform “hybrid” procedures that combine both open surgery and minimally invasive endovascular techniques and maximize the benefits of both.

As a major academic medical center, UAB maintains an active research program that also manages clinical trials. Our commitment to innovation and discovery often means that patients have access to advanced new treatments long before they are available to the general public.






UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials