Lungs and Chest Blood Clot

Blood Clot & Pulmonary Embolism

Stopping a blood clot from spreading to the lungs

Your arteries and veins carry blood throughout your body, like water in a pipe.

At times, the blood can congeal and collect, or a vessel can narrow, and something called a blood clot can form.

A blood clot (thrombosis) prevents blood from flowing freely and must be treated, before the clot breaks loose and flows into the lungs (pulmonary embolism).

Usually, a patient with a blood clot is first started on blood thinning medication.

If that medication fails to clear up the clot and restore normal flow, an interventional radiologist may intervene with a minimally invasive procedure.

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter Placement

Blood travels from your legs and body to your heart through a big vein called the inferior vena cava (IVC).

An IVC filter can be placed in this large vein to catch or prevent any blood clots flowing towards the heart and lungs from getting there.

An IVC filter resembles the wire framing of an umbrella, and simply acts as a precautionary barrier that can prevent a blood clot from becoming a pulmonary embolism.


The interventional radiologist may choose to deliver clot busting medication directly to the clot.

To do this, a catheter is inserted into the patient’s artery near their groin.

The physician steers the catheter to the clot using live x-ray images.

Once the catheter is in place, the thrombolytic medication can be delivered directly to the clot to help break it up and restore normal flow.


For more information, including questions about referrals, please contact us at:

(616) 459-7225

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Additional Online Resources:
The Interventional Initiative
Society of Interventional Radiology
Radiology Info for Patients

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