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Are Temporary Vena Cava Filters Really Temporary?
Friday, August 9, 2013





There are an increased number of patients in the United States and Europe who are receiving temporary inferior vena cava filters prior to elective surgery.  The question is 1) what happens to these filters once they are placed and 2) are temporary vena cava filters really temporary?



The complication rate of vena cava filter insertion has been shown to be significant and 12 out of 1000 patients have died from the procedure.  The common complications include perforation of the vena cava and migration of the filter as well as total occlusion of the vena cava despite anticoagulation. Patients have also developed pulmonary embolism, renal insufficiency, renal failure and new DVT formation after vena cava filter placement. Migration of caval filters into renal veins have also occurred. The large number of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism episodes in The United States (one million cases of venous thrombo-embolism and 350,000 cases of pulmonary embolism) explains a need for placement of a large number of vena cava filters.



Vena cava filters are placed temporarily before bariatric surgery, also known as morbid obesity surgery.  Recent studies have shown that there is poor retrieval of these so called temporary filters.  It is estimated that less than 2% of temporary filters are removed in The United States. Retrieval or removal rates in Europe have shown to be approximately 1 in 4 at 1 year follow-up. .



A recent editorial and a journal Phlebology by Dr. Lane and colleagues recommend that it is incumbent upon those that have placed temporary filters to remove them for safety reasons.  The editorial was published in Phlebology in June 2013, volume 28, number four,  pages 171 to 179.



For more information about vena cave filters and deep vein thrombosis contact Dr. Karamanoukian at the Vein Treatment Center or go to or call 716-839-3638.



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