Inferior vena caval filters: Review of a 26-year single-center clinical experience

Christos A. Athanasoulis, John A. Kaufman, Elkan F. Halpern, Arthur C. Waltman, Stuart C. Geller, Chieh Min Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

336 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To review a 26-year single-center clinical experience with inferior vena caval filters. MATERIALS AND METHODS: During 1973-1998, 1,765 filters were implanted in 1,731 patients. Hospital files were reviewed, and data were collected about the indications, safety, effectiveness, numbers, and types of caval filters. Fatal postfilter pulmonary embolism (PE) was considered the primary outcome. Morbidity and mortality were determined as secondary outcomes. Survival and morbidity-free survival curves were calculated. RESULTS: The prevalence of observed postfilter PE was 5.6%. It was fatal in 3.7% of patients. In most patients, fatal PE occurred soon after filter insertion (median, 4.0 days; 95% CI: 2.2, 5.8 days). Major complications occurred in 0.3% of procedures. The prevalence of observed postfilter caval thrombosis was 2.7%. The 30-day mortality rate was 17.0% overall, higher among patients with neoplasms (19.5%) as compared with those without neoplasms (14.3%; P = .004). Filter efficacy and associated morbidity were not different in 46 patients with suprarenal filters. The rate of filters placed for prophylaxis was 4.7% overall and increased to 16.4% in 1998. From 1980 to 1996, there was a fivefold increase in the number of caval filter implants. In recent years, more filters were implanted in younger patients. CONCLUSION: Inferior vena caval filters provide protection from life-threatening PE, with minimal morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-66
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Embolism, pulmonary
  • Interventional procedures, complications
  • Venae cavae, filters
  • Venae cavae, interventional procedures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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