British Lung Foundation

Inferior vena cava filters to prevent pulmonary thrombosis

My 80 year old mother is due to have a permanent filter implanted in her inferior vena cava because she is at high risk of DVT's and conventional anticoagulant therapy is no longer suitable. I am extremely concerned because 4 years ago, I underwent an angiogram following a heart attack during which my right femoral artery was torn in 6 places and my external iliac artery was torn in 2 places. I needed 5 hours of surgery to repair this damage, during which I had 18 units or blood transfused. I was lucky not to lose my right leg, never mind my life. Artery walls are thicker than vein walls and my mum is known to have poor veins. Also, she had the veins in her right leg stripped to sort out her varicose veins, though this was over 20 years ago. Am I right to be worried, or has my own experience nothing to do with what happens to my mother?

3 Replies

Hi it seems a difficult decision for your mum and I understand your concern I can only say that your mum will have to weigh up the pros and cons of the procedure best wishes


This is a really difficult decision. Of course, your awful experience will affect the way that you worry that something may go wrong with your Mother's procedure. However, it may also go very well.

There is another issue here. Like anticoagulant therapy, this is a preventative procedure based on the presumed risk of DVTs. Just because it is a text book procedure, strongly recommended by doctors does not mean that your Mother is compelled to have it if she she considers the risk of having the procedure to be worse than living without it.

I have AF and all of my heart specialist and GP insist that I should take anti coagulants in order to prevent a stroke. However, I have bronchiectasis and because my lungs tend to bleed this medication could lead to me having a haemorrhage. Iave taken the decision that I will risk the stroke, which is not an inevitable result of AF rather than risk the haemorrhage. Not easy. My chest consultant backed my decision by the way.

Whatever she decides, I hope that your Mother does very well

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You are NOT right to worry, though I can see that it is practically unavoidable in your case. It all comes down to trust, as with all sufferers on this group. Unfortunately the cases where terrible mistakes are made get all the publicity and the millions of successful cases get little. Worrying isn't going to change things anyway and the risk of DVT's sounds far greater.

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