Since its introduction in 1972, over 125,000 patients have had a Greenfield Vena Cava Filter implanted to protect them from pulmonary embolism. If you have been diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which blood clots (thrombi) form in the veins of the leg, you may need a Greenfield/ Vena Cava Filter. Also a potentially serious complication of DVT is pulmonary embolism. The process of pulmonary embolism begins when a clot in the leg suddenly dislodges. The clot, now called an embolus, travels through the veins and into the vena cava. This is the large central vein that returns blood to the heart. The heart pumps the blood (and the embolus) received from the vena cava into the pulmonary artery which carries it to the lungs. Because branches of the pulmonary artery are much smaller in diameter than the vena cava, the embolus can block the flow of blood to the lungs. Pulmonary embolism can be life threatening because the body's oxygen supply can be cut off. The Greenfield Filter is permanently implanted in the vena cava where it prevents pulmonary embolism by capturing blood clots (emboli) before they can be transported to the lung. When an embolus enters the cone-shaped Greenfield Filter, it is directed toward the center of the filter and trapped. The Greenfield Filter is designed to allow adequate blood flow around the captured clot. Over time, a natural process called clot lysis will dissolve the trapped embolus.
Recent designs have made placement of the IVC Filter much easier in contrast with the surgical solutions available in the past. Depending on the location of the blood clots, the catheter (thin tube) is inserted via the large vein in the groin (femoral vein), arm veins or the large neck vein (internal jugular vein). The catheter is guided to the Inferior Vena Cava by a fluoroscope or ultrasound, after which the Greenfield Filter is inserted and attached to the IVC walls.
Please continue reading the other articles throughout our website http://greenfieldfilter.org for more specific information on placement, removal, types and complications of Greenfield Filters.