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Concept: Inferior vena cava filter


IMPORTANCE Retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filters were designed to provide temporary protection from pulmonary embolism, sparing patients from long-term complications of permanent filters. However, many retrievable IVC filters are left in place indefinitely. OBJECTIVES To review the medical records of patients with IVC filters to determine patient demographics and date of and indication for IVC filter placement, as well as complications, follow-up data, date of IVC filter retrieval, and use of anticoagulant therapy. DESIGN AND SETTING A retrospective review of IVC filter use between August 1, 2003, and February 28, 2011, was conducted at Boston Medical Center, a tertiary referral center with the largest trauma center in New England. PARTICIPANTS In total, 978 patients. Twenty six patients were excluded from the study because of incomplete medical records. INTERVENTION Placement of retrievable IVC filter. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES In total, 952 medical records were included in the analysis. RESULTS Of 679 retrievable IVC filters that were placed, 58 (8.5%) were successfully removed. Unsuccessful retrieval attempts were made in 13 patients (18.3% of attempts). Seventy-four venous thrombotic events (7.8% of 952 patients included in the study) occurred after IVC filter placement, including 25 pulmonary emboli, all of which occurred with the IVC filter in place. Forty-eight percent of venous thrombotic events were in patients without venous thromboembolism at the time of IVC filter placement, and 89.4% occurred in patients not receiving anticoagulants. Many IVC filters placed after trauma were inserted when the highest bleeding risk had subsided, and anticoagulant therapy may have been appropriate. While many of these filters were placed because of a perceived contraindication to anticoagulants, 237 patients (24.9%) were discharged on a regimen of anticoagulant therapy. CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE Our research suggests that the use of IVC filters for prophylaxis and treatment of venous thrombotic events, combined with a low retrieval rate and inconsistent use of anticoagulant therapy, results in suboptimal outcomes due to high rates of venous thromboembolism.

Concepts: Stroke, Pulmonary embolism, Warfarin, Low molecular weight heparin, Anticoagulant, Inferior vena cava, Deep vein thrombosis, Inferior vena cava filter


The US Surgeon General estimates that 100,000 to 180,000 deaths occur annually from acute pulmonary embolism (PE) in the United States. The case of Ms A, a 60-year-old woman with acute PE and right ventricular dysfunction (submassive PE), illustrates the clinical challenge of identifying this high-risk patient population and determining when more aggressive immediate therapy should be pursued in addition to standard anticoagulation. The clinical examination, electrocardiogram, cardiac biomarkers, chest computed tomography, and echocardiography can be used to risk stratify patients with acute PE. Current options for more aggressive intervention in the treatment of patients with acute PE who are at increased risk of an adverse clinical course include systemic fibrinolysis, pharmacomechanical catheter-directed therapy, surgical pulmonary embolectomy, and inferior vena cava filter insertion. Determination of the optimal duration of anticoagulation and lifestyle modification to reduce overall cardiovascular risk are critical components of the long-term therapy of patients with acute PE.

Concepts: Heart, Pulmonary embolism, Physician, Vein, Pulmonary artery, Inferior vena cava, Inferior vena cava filter, Embolism


PURPOSE: To evaluate of the medium-term integrity, efficacy, and complication rate associated with the Gunther Tulip vena cava filter. METHODS: A retrospective study was performed of 369 consecutive patients who had infrarenal Gunther Tulip inferior vena cava filters placed over a 5-year period. The mean patient age was 61.8 years, and 59 % were men. Venous thromboembolic disease and a contraindication to or complication of anticoagulation were the indications for filter placement in 86 % of patients; 14 % were placed for prophylaxis in patients with a mean of 2.3 risk factors. Follow-up was obtained by review of medical and radiologic records. RESULTS: Mean clinical follow-up was 780 days. New or recurrent pulmonary embolus occurred in 12 patients (3.3 %). New or recurrent deep-vein thrombosis occurred in 53 patients (14.4 %). There were no symptomatic fractures, migrations, or caval perforations. Imaging follow-up in 287 patients (77.8 %) at a mean of 731 days revealed a single (0.3 %) asymptomatic fracture, migration greater than 2 cm in 36 patients (12.5 %), and no case of embolization. Of 122 patients with CT scans, asymptomatic perforations were identified in 53 patients (43.4 %) at a mean 757 days. CONCLUSION: The Gunther Tulip filter was safe and effective at 2-year follow-up. Complication rates were similar to those reported for permanent inferior vena cava filters.

Concepts: Stroke, Pulmonary embolism, Vein, Low molecular weight heparin, Anticoagulant, Inferior vena cava, Deep vein thrombosis, Inferior vena cava filter


The purpose of this review was to examine recent studies concerning the use of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters.

Concepts: Inferior vena cava, Superior vena cava, Inferior vena cava filter


Trauma patients are at high risk for life-threatening venous thromboembolic (VTE) events. We examined the relationship between prophylactic inferior vena cava (IVC) filter use, mortality, and VTE.

Concepts: Vein, Inferior vena cava, Superior vena cava, Inferior vena cava filter


To compare the retrievability of two potentially retrievable inferior vena cava filter devices.

Concepts: Comparison, Comparisons, Inferior vena cava, Superior vena cava, Inferior vena cava filter


Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are widely used for prevention of pulmonary embolism (PE). However, uncertainty persists about their efficacy and safety.

Concepts: Pulmonary embolism, Prevention, Inferior vena cava, Inferior vena cava filter


To evaluate efficacy and safety of a novel device that combines an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter and central venous catheter (CVC) for prevention of pulmonary embolism (PE) in critically ill patients.

Concepts: Vein, Central venous catheter, Catheter, Inferior vena cava, Peripheral venous catheter, Deep vein thrombosis, Superior vena cava, Inferior vena cava filter


Thrombosis of the inferior vena cava (IVC) is an under-recognized entity that is associated with significant short- and long-term morbidity and mortality. In absence of a congenital anomaly, the most common cause of IVC thrombosis is the presence of an unretrieved IVC filter. Due to the substantial increase in the number of IVC filters placed in the United States and the very low filter retrieval rates, clinicians are faced with a very large population of patients at risk for developing IVC thrombosis. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of data and societal guidelines with regards to the diagnosis and management of IVC thrombosis. This paper aims to enhance the awareness of this uncommon, but morbid, condition by providing a concise, yet comprehensive, review of the etiology, diagnostic approaches, and treatment strategies in patients with IVC thrombosis.

Concepts: United States, Congenital disorder, Inferior vena cava, Deep vein thrombosis, Inferior vena cava filter, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Inferior vena caval filters (IVCFs) may prevent recurrent pulmonary embolism (PE). Despite uncertainty about their net benefit, patterns of use and outcomes of these devices in contemporary practice are unknown.

Concepts: Pulmonary embolism, Inferior vena cava, Deep vein thrombosis, Inferior vena cava filter