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Ins and outs of inferior vena cava filters in patients with venous thromboembolism: the experience at Monash Medical Centre and review of the published reports

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Abstract Background: 

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are an alternative management strategy to anticoagulation in patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE). However, an IVC filter has its own inherent risks and complications and may not be the best management strategy. The aims of this study were to evaluate our institution’s practice of permanent Vena Tech (B. Braun Medical S.A., Boulogne, France) and retrievable Gunther Tulip (William Cook Europe, Bjaeverskov) IVC filters and to review the available published reports. Methods: 

Retrospective single centre audit from the medical record. Results: 

Eighty-three and 42 patients had a VT and GT filter inserted, respectively. Median age was 57 years for VT and 63 years for GT. The majority (75% for VT and 83% for GT) was inserted for acute VTE and contraindication to anticoagulation. Both filters were efficacious at preventing pulmonary embolism (PE) and there was a low rate of recurrent deep venous thrombosis in both groups. Insertion-related complications were low in both groups. Of the GT filters (n = 42), 16 were deemed an ongoing requirement, and thus, removal was not planned. In a further six patients, there was insufficient documentation as to why removal was not planned. Removal was attempted in 19 patients and was successful in 11. Failure of removal was as a result of clot in the filter (n = 7) or inability to snare it (n = 1). Conclusions: 

Both the permanent and retrievable filters are efficacious at preventing PE and are associated with a low complication rate. Planned removal of the GT filter may not be possible in a significant proportion of cases.
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Keywords: IVC; filter; thromboembolism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Clinical Haematology 2: Radiology, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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