Inferior vena cava filter retrieval: Effectiveness and complications of routine and advanced techniques

Ramsey Al-Hakim, Stephen T. Kee, Kristen Olinger, Edward W. Lee, John M. Moriarty, Justin P. McWilliams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Purpose To investigate the success and safety of routine versus advanced inferior vena cava (IVC) filter retrieval techniques. Materials and Methods A retrospective review was performed of patients who underwent IVC filter placement and/or a retrieval attempt over a 10-year period. Retrieval technique(s), preretrieval computed tomography, preretrieval venography, and clinical/imaging follow-up for 30 days after retrieval were analyzed. Mean filter dwell time was 134 days (range, 0-2,475 d). Results Filter retrieval was attempted 231 times in 217 patients (39% female, 61% male; mean age, 50.7 y), with success rates of 73.2% (169 of 231) and 94.7% (54 of 57) for routine and advanced filter retrieval techniques, respectively. The overall filter retrieval complication rate was 1.7% (four of 231); complications in four patients (with multiple complications in some cases) included IVC dissection, IVC intussusception, IVC thrombus/stenosis, filter fracture with embedded strut, IVC injury with hemorrhage, and vascular injury from complicated venous access. The rate of complications associated with filter retrievals that required advanced technique was significantly higher than seen with routine technique (5.3% vs 0.4%; P <.05). Longer dwell time, more transverse tilt, and presence of an embedded hook were associated with significantly increased rates of failed retrieval via routine technique (P <.05). Conclusions IVC filters can be retrieved with a high overall success rate (98.2%) and a low complication rate (1.7%) by using advanced techniques when the routine approach has failed; however, the use of advanced techniques is associated with a significantly higher complication rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-939
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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