Patterns of use and outcome of inferior vena cava filters in a tertiary care setting

Amihai Rottenstreich, Galia Spectre, Batia Roth, Allan I. Bloom, Yosef Kalish*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement is increasing although the evidence to justify their use is limited. Many filters are left in place indefinitely, thereby exposing patients to long-term complications. Objectives: To review indications, complications, and follow-up data of patients undergoing IVC filter placement at our center. Methods: A retrospective review of consecutive admitted patients who underwent IVC filter insertion in a large university hospital with a level I trauma center. Thrombosis specialists retrospectively assessed the appropriateness of indication for IVC filter placement as well as referral for retrieval. Results: Overall, 405 filters were inserted between 2009 and 2013. All filters were retrievable. IVC filter was placed as a primary prevention in 42% of patients. Fifty-two patients (12.8%) experienced at least one filter-related complication. The most common complication was deep vein thrombosis occurring in 6.9% of cases. Almost a third of all complications occurred in filters originally placed for prophylactic indications. Only 13.6% of filters were successfully removed. Nevertheless, according to our reviewers, an attempt for filter retrieval should have been made in 57% of all cases and in 86% of trauma patients. A significantly higher retrieval rate was found in patients followed at our thrombosis clinic (P < 0.01). During follow-up, 95 patients (23.4%) died, most of them with active cancer. Conclusions: IVC filters are placed in many cases for prophylactic indications. Their low retrieval rates together with relatively high risk of long-term complications, questions their extensive utilization. Prospective trials addressing the safety and efficacy of IVC filters are still warranted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Haematology
StateAccepted/In press - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Inferior vena cava filter
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Venous thromboembolism


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