Inferior vena cava filters are commonly used to prevent pulmonary embolism in patients who manifest deep vein thrombosis and recurrent pulmonary embolism despite anticoagulation, or in patients with contraindications to anticoagulation. We report the case of a 69-year-old man with a structurally normal heart who experienced migration of an inferior vena cava filter to the right ventricle, which caused the abrupt onset of recurrent episodes of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia unresponsive to intravenous antiarrhythmic medication. Cardiac imaging revealed the location of the filter within the right ventricle, and the device was removed, with subsequent resolution of the arrhythmia. We anticipate that the incidence of inferior vena cava filter migration might increase in the future because of recent changes in device construction. The sudden appearance of nonsustained ventricular tachycardia in a patient with an inferior vena cava filter might indicate the occurrence of this potentially life-threatening sequela and should lead to emergent cardiac imaging.
Foreign-body migration; inferior vena cava filter; pulmonary embolism/prevention & control; tachycardia, ventricular/etiology/diagnosis; vena cava, inferior; vena cava filters/adverse effects/utilization; venous thrombosis; ventricular tachycardia
To review the evidence for using inferior vena cava (IVC) filters to prevent pulmonary embolism (PE) in high-risk patients.
QUALITY OF EVIDENCE
Ovid MEDLINE was searched from 1966 to 2006 for all English-language papers on IVC filters. Evidence was graded according to the 3-level classification system. Most evidence found was level II.
Inferior vena cava filters are used to prevent PE in patients with contraindications to, complications of, or failure of anticoagulation therapy and patients with extensive free-floating thrombi or residual thrombi following massive PE. Current evidence indicates that IVC filters are largely effective; breakthrough PE occurs in only 0% to 6.2% of cases. Contraindications to implantation of IVC filters include lack of venous access, caval occlusion, uncorrectable coagulopathy, and sepsis. Complications include misplacement or embolization of the filter, vascular injury or thrombosis, pneumothorax, and air emboli. Recurrent PE, IVC thrombosis, filter migration, filter fracture, or penetration of the caval wall sometimes occur with long-term use.
When used appropriately, IVC filters are a safe and effective method of preventing PE. Using retrievable filters might reduce long-term complications.
A Gunther tulip vena cava filter was implanted in a patient with pulmonary embolism from deep venous thrombosis. The filter became unnecessary after therapy. However, retrieval by the standard method employing a vascular sheath placed via the transjugular approach in combination with a snare device was impossible. A thrombus occupying the apical hook made it difficult to snare the hook, also one filter leg was incorporated into the inferior vena cava wall. Therefore we modified an existing method to withdraw the filter. As the first step, the filter cone was snared using the snare-over-guide wire loop technique, and the cephalad site of the filter was introduced into the sheath. Then, a 12-French sheath was advanced from the femoral vein and, using a pusher, the distal legs of the filter were pushed, which resulted the filter leg that was incorporated into the inferior vena cava wall became detached. Finally the filter was successfully retrieved.
embolism; pulmonary; interventional procedures; vena cava; filters
The authors present a case of a 27-year-old multiparous woman, with multiple thrombophilia, whose pregnancy was complicated with deep venous thrombosis requiring placement of a vena cava filter. At 15th week of gestation, following an acute deep venous thrombosis of the right inferior limb, anticoagulant therapy with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) was instituted without improvement in her clinical status. Subsequently, at 18 weeks of pregnancy, LMWH was switched to warfarin. At 30th week of gestation, the maintenance of high thrombotic risk was the premise for placement of an inferior vena cava filter for prophylaxis of pulmonary embolism during childbirth and postpartum. There were no complications and a vaginal delivery was accomplished at 37 weeks of gestation. Venal placement of inferior vena cava filters is an attractive option as prophylaxis for pulmonary embolism during pregnancy.
Contrast echocardiography was used before cardiac catheterisation in 37 patients with atrial septal defect and a left-to-right shunt and in 18 patients with a raised right atrial and ventricular pressure to assess the contrast echo effect in the inferior vena cava. Using two dimensional contrast apical echocardiography we found a negative contrast echo effect within the right atrium in many but not all patients with atrial defect. Contrast echoes entering the inferior vena cava during presystole or early to mid-diastole were detected in patients with heart disease causing raised right atrial and ventricular pressures and also in all patients with atrial septal defect. No contrast echo effect in the inferior vena cava was detected in 10 normal subjects. The sensitivity of this contrast pattern in the inferior vena cava in diagnosing atrial septal defect was 100%. When other conditions causing raised right atrial pressure were excluded, the specificity and predictive accuracy were 100% for both. The presystolic contrast echo effect in the inferior vena cava, semiquantitatively graded, correlated with the size of the shunt determined by oximetry. In 20 patients re-examined after the surgical correction of the atrial septal defect, no presystolic contrast echo effect was detected in the inferior vena cava. Contrast echocardiography of the inferior vena cava is a valuable and reliable method for diagnosing atrial septal defect with left-to-right shunt.
Lacerations of the inferior vena cava are associated with a high mortality and may be difficult to repair. The majority of injuries are due to penetrating trauma. Rapid transportation to definitive surgical care with effective resuscitation may improve mortality. Surgical management includes adequate treatment of hypovolemic shock due to blood loss. Placement of intravenous infusion sites below the level of the diaphragm may be effective. Operative control of the inferior vena cava can be accomplished by directed digital compression followed by a proximal and distal control. Injuries of the inferior vena cava above the level of the renal veins are associated with an increased mortality. Retrohepatic and subdiaphragmatic injuries are highly lethal. This article discusses appropriate surgical approaches for repair of the inferior vena cava above and below the diaphragm.
Inferior vena cava filters are often used as alternatives to anticoagulant therapy for the prevention of pulmonary embolism. Many of the clinical data that support the use of these devices stem from relatively limited retrospective studies.
The dual purpose of this review is to examine the incidence of thrombotic complications associated with inferior vena cava filters and to discuss the role of anticoagulant therapy concurrent with filter placement. Device-associated morbidity and overall efficacy can be considered only in the context of rates of vena cava thrombosis, insertion-site thrombosis, recurrent deep venous thrombosis, and recurrent pulmonary embolism.
Anticoagulants/contraindications/therapeutic use; combined modality therapy; device removal; equipment design/safety/trends; evaluation studies; patient selection; prosthesis implantation; pulmonary embolism/prevention & control/therapy; recurrence; risk factors; thrombolytic therapy/methods; treatment outcome; vena cava filters/adverse effects/classification/contraindications/history/statistics & numerical data/trends/utilization; venous thrombosis/complications/prevention & control/therapy
Deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis is essential to the appropriate management of multisystem trauma patients. Without thromboprophylaxis, the rate of venous thrombosis and subsequent pulmonary embolism is substantial. Three prophylactic modalities are common: pharmacologic anticoagulation, mechanical compression devices, and inferior vena cava filtration. A systematic review was completed using PRISMA guidelines to evaluate the potential complications of DVT prophylactic options. Level one evidence currently supports the use of low molecular weight heparins for thromboprophylaxis in the trauma patient. Unfortunately, multiple techniques are not infrequently required for complex multisystem trauma patients. Each modality has potential complications. The risks of heparin include bleeding and heparin induced thrombocytopenia. Mechanical compression devices can result in local soft tissue injury, bleeding and patient non-compliance. Inferior vena cava filters migrate, cause inferior vena cava occlusion, and penetrate the vessel wall. While the use of these techniques can be life saving, they must be appropriately utilized.
Retrieval of a Gunther tulip vena cava filter implanted in a patient with inferior vena cava and right common iliac vein thrombosis was attempted by the standard method. Because the filter was tilted, the hook became attached to the vena cava wall and could not be snared. During attempts at removal by an alternative method, the filter migrated toward the right atrium. However, it was finally successfully removed.
Embolism; pulmonary; extremities; thrombosis; interventional procedures; vena cava; filters
To describe the frequency, indications, and outcomes following inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement in a population-based sample of residents of the Worcester, MA, metropolitan area diagnosed with acute venous thromboembolism (VTE) in 1999, 2001, and 2003.
A retrospective chart review of inpatient and outpatient medical records was conducted. Recorded indication(s) for IVC filter placement was determined among a subset of cases from three Worcester tertiary care hospitals. Three thrombosis specialists assessed the appropriateness of IVC filter placement.
Among 1547 greater Worcester residents with validated acute VTE and without a prior IVC filter, 203 (13.1%) had an IVC filter placed after acute VTE. Patients with an IVC filter placed were older, had more co-morbidities, and had higher mortality during 3-year follow-up. There was unanimous agreement by panel members that use of an IVC filter was appropriate in 51% of cases, and inappropriate in 26% of cases, with no consensus in the remaining 23%.
In this community-based study, IVC filters were frequently utilized in the management of patients with acute VTE. Placement was deemed to be appropriate in approximately half of the patients, but was not appropriate or debatable in the remaining cases. Given increasing use of IVC filters, prospective studies are clearly needed to better define the indications for, and efficacy of, IVC filter placement.
The Tempofilter II is a widely used temporary vena cava filter. Its unique design, which includes a long tethering catheter with a subcutaneous anchor, facilitates the deployment and retrieval of the device. Despite this, the Tempofilter II has been used only in the inferior vena cava of patients with lower extremity deep venous thrombosis. In this article, we present a case of superior vena cava filtering using the Tempofilter II in patients with upper extremity deep venous thrombosis.
Embolism, pulmonary; Veins, extremities; Veins, thrombosis; Vena cavae, filter; Vena cavae, interventional procedure
Therapeutic and prophylactic inferior vena cava (IVC) filters should be placed based on currently accepted indications to prevent a fatal pulmonary embolism (PE). The protective effect of filters is offset by the potential for lower extremity deep venous thrombosis (DVT), caval thrombosis, and possible otherwise unnecessary life-long anticoagulation (AC). The duration of treatment for most DVTs or PEs is 3 to 6 months of AC/filter. Filters should be retrieved when duration of treatment for a DVT/PE has been met, the risk of a PE is no longer high, and/or there is no longer a contraindication to AC. An effective system that leads to improving the retrieval rate of filters must include education of the patient, a tracking system to minimize patient lost to follow-up, and dedicated personnel to oversee the process. If these goals are accomplished, interventionalists can help decrease the incidence of a fatal PE during the high-risk period, and also decrease the risk of a DVT or the use of otherwise unnecessary life-long AC in subsequent years. Currently, there is much room for improvement in the frequency that IVCF patients are systematically followed and filters are retrieved. The principles discussed in this report will be helpful in this process.
Retrievable inferior vena cava filters; tracking inferior vena cava filter patients; improving retrieval of inferior vena cava filters
A 14-year-old patient presented with bilateral pneumonia and pleural effusions, septic arthritis of the hip, deep venous thrombosis, and pulmonary thromboembolism. Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) containing the Panton Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) genes was isolated. Contraindication to anticoagulation prompted inferior vena cava filter placement. He completed 4 weeks of treatment with flucloxacillin, with good clinical outcome.
S. aureus containing PVL genes should be sought in cases of necrotizing pneumonia as it seems to increase the risk of severe multifocal infection and thrombotic complications.
There are few reports of placement of filters during S. aureus sepsis and bacteraemia. This case highlights that when anticoagulation is not feasible, an inferior vena cava filter can be inserted safely, even in patients with active sepsis and high risk for seeding of the filter. Long-term follow-up confirmed a successful outcome with sterilization of the septic thrombosis with no further pulmonary embolism or additional sepsis episodes.
1) To evaluate the mid-term efficacy and safety of a permanent nitinol inferior vena cava (IVC) filter; 2) to evaluate filter effectiveness, filter stability and caval occlusion.
Materials and Methods
A prospective evaluation of the TrapEase IVC filter was performed on 42 patients (eight men, 34 women) ranging in age from 22 to 78 years (mean age 66 years). All patients were ill with a high risk of pulmonary embolism (PE). Indications for filter placement were: 1) deep vein thrombosis with recurrent thromboembolism; 2) and/or free-floating thrombus with contraindication to anticoagulation; and 3) complications in achieving adequate anticoagulation. Follow-up evaluations (mean: 15.4 months, range: 2 to 28 months) were performed at 6- and 12-month intervals after the procedure and included clinical histories, chart reviews, plain film, Doppler ultrasounds, and contrasted abdominal CT scans.
In follow-up evaluations, the data analysis revealed no cases of symptomatic PE. There were no cases of filter migration, insertion site thrombosis, filter fracture, or vessel wall perforation. During the study, there was one case of filter thrombosis; early symptomatic thrombosis that was successfully treated in the hospital. Of the 42 subjects, eight died. These deaths were not related to the filter device or the implantation procedure, but to the underlying disease.
This study demonstrates that the TrapEase permanent IVC filter is a safe and an effective device with low complication rates and is best used in patients with thromboembolic disease with a high risk of PE.
Pulmonary thromboembolism; IVC Filter; IVC thrombosis
Characteristics and outcomes of patients undergoing inferior vena cava (IVC) filter insertion are not well reported. Particularly, the role of long term anticoagulation in these patients is unclear.
(1) To describe in a cohort of patients undergoing IVC filter insertion, underlying diseases, indications for filter insertion, complications, and survival. (2) To determine the effect of long term anticoagulant treatment on thromboembolism and patient survival.
A retrospective analysis of 109 consecutive patients undergoing IVC filter insertion in two university hospitals.
Average age was 67.4 years. Median duration of follow up was two years. Indications for IVC filter insertion were: contraindication to anticoagulation (n = 61, 56%), prophylactic insertion (n = 29, 27%), thromboembolism while receiving adequate anticoagulation (n = 17, 15%), and non‐compliance with anticoagulation (n = 2, 2%). Insertion related complications were groin haematoma in four patients (3.5%) and localised infection at the puncture site in one patient (0.9%). Fifty six patients (51.4%) died during the study period. Of these, 22 received long term anticoagulants and 34 did not. Overall and thrombosis free survival was greater in the anticoagulant treated group (median survival not reached) than in the untreated group (median survival = 12 months). Patients not receiving long term anticoagulation after IVC filter insertion were nearly 2.5‐fold more likely to die or experience venous thromboembolism.
IVC filter insertion was a safe procedure and was performed for appropriate indications in the patients studied. In patients surviving for longer than 30 days, prolonged administration of oral anticoagulants was associated with improved survival with no significant increase in haemorrhagic complications.
vena cava filter; anticoagulation
The purpose of this study was first to evaluate the clot capture efficiency and capture location of six currently-marketed vena cava filters in a physiological venous flow loop, using synthetic polyacrylamide hydrogel clots, which were intended to simulate actual blood clots. After observing a measured anomaly for one of the test filters, we redirected the focus of the study to identify the cause of poor clot capture performance for large synthetic hydrogel clots. We hypothesized that the uncharacteristic low clot capture efficiency observed when testing the outlying filter can be attributed to the inadvertent use of dense, stiff synthetic hydrogel clots, and not as a result of the filter design or filter orientation. To study this issue, sheep blood clots and polyacrylamide (PA) synthetic clots were injected into a mock venous flow loop containing a clinical inferior vena cava (IVC) filter, and their captures were observed. Testing was performed with clots of various diameters (3.2, 4.8, and 6.4 mm), length-to-diameter ratios (1:1, 3:1, 10:1), and stiffness. By adjusting the chemical formulation, PA clots were fabricated to be soft, moderately stiff, or stiff with elastic moduli of 805 ± 2, 1696 ± 10 and 3295 ± 37 Pa, respectively. In comparison, the elastic moduli for freshly prepared sheep blood clots were 1690 ± 360 Pa. The outlying filter had a design that was characterized by peripheral gaps (up to 14 mm) between its wire struts. While a low clot capture rate was observed using large, stiff synthetic clots, the filter effectively captured similarly sized sheep blood clots and soft PA clots. Because the stiffer synthetic clots remained straight when approaching the filter in the IVC model flow loop, they were more likely to pass between the peripheral filter struts, while the softer, physiological clots tended to fold and were captured by the filter. These experiments demonstrated that if synthetic clots are used as a surrogate for animal or human blood clots for in vitro evaluation of vena cava filters, the material properties (eg, elastic modulus) and dynamic behavior of the surrogate should first be assessed to ensure that they accurately mimic an actual blood clot within the body.
blood clot; elastic modulus; polyacrylamide hydrogel; in vitro testing of vena cava filters
Asymptomatic deep venous thrombosis (DVT) has been reported in 60% to 100% of persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). Several guidelines have been published detailing recommended venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis after acute SCI. Low-molecular-weight heparin, intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices, and/or graduated compression stockings are recommended. Vena cava filters (VCFs) are recommended for secondary prophylaxis in certain situations.
To clarify the use of vena cava filters in patients with SCI.
Prophylactic use of vena cava filters has expanded in trauma patients, including individuals with SCI. Filter placement effectively prevents pulmonary emboli and has a low complication rate. Indications include pulmonary embolus while on anticoagulant therapy, presence of pulmonary embolus and contraindication for anticoagulation, and documented free-floating ileofemoral thrombus. VCFs should be considered in patients with complete motor paralysis caused by lesions in the high cervical cord (C2 and C3), with poor cardiopulmonary reserve, or with thrombus in the inferior vena cava despite anticoagulant prophylaxis. Three optional retrievable filters that are approved for use are discussed.
Retrievable VCFs are a safe, feasible option for secondary prophylaxis of VTE in patients with SCI. Objective criteria for temporary and permanent placement need to be defined.
Spinal cord injuries; Deep vein thrombosis; Venous thromboembolism; Pulmonary embolism; Trauma; Thromboprophylaxis; Vena cava filters; Greenfield filters; Recovery; OptEase; TrapEase
Inferior vena cava filters have been used frequently for decades to prevent pulmonary embolism in medical, surgical and trauma patients. With the advent of temporary or retrievable filters, the use of these filters has increased substantially. However, the enhanced design and attributes that make these devices attractive for short-term benefit and retrieval are not without risk. Two cases of symptomatic inferior vena cava wall penetration are reported – one of which required surgical intervention.
Inferior vena cava filter; Inferior vena cava filter complications; Inferior vena cava wall penetration; Retrievable filter
Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter thrombosis is a complex problem. Thrombus within an IVC filter may range from an asymptomatic small thrombus to critical IVC occlusion that affects both lower extremities. The published experience of IVC thrombosis management in relation to filters is either anecdotal or limited to a small group of patients; however, endovascular treatment methods appear to be safe and effective in patients with IVC thrombosis. This review focuses on filter-related IVC thrombosis and its endovascular management.
vena cava filters; vena cava inferior; venous thrombosis/therapy; thrombectomy/methods
Purpose: To describe a case of successful retrieval of OptEase filter, using the
balloon-trapped technique, after failure of its retrieval by the standard techniques.
Case report: An 82-year-old man had an inferior vena cava filter placed for deep venous
thrombosis prophylactically. Seven days after successful catheter-directed thrombolysis,
the filter was retrieved after changing the position to caudal, using a standard
angioplasty balloon. The patient was discharged on warfarin anticoagulant.
Conclusion: Balloon-trapped removal of the OptEase filter that failed standard retrieval
attempt is an effective and safe technique that can be performed using commonly available
tools and familiar to most interventionalists.
deep venous thrombosis; pulmonary embolism; permanent/retrieval filter; catheter-directed thrombolysis
The purpose of this study was to examine the incidence of new or recurrent venous thromboembolism (VTE) after retrieval of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters and risk factors associated with such recurrence. Between March 2001 and September 2008, at our institution, implanted retrievable vena cava filters were retrieved in 76 patients. The incidence of new or recurrent VTE after retrieval was reviewed and numerous variables were analyzed to assess risk factors for redevelopment of VTE after filter retrieval. In 5 (6.6%) of the 76 patients, redevelopment or worsening of VTE was seen after retrieval of the filter. Three patients (4.0%) had recurrent deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in the lower extremities and 2 (2.6%) had development of pulmonary embolism, resulting in death. Although there was no significant difference in the incidence of new or recurrent VTE related to any risk factor investigated, a tendency for development of VTE after filter retrieval was higher in patients in whom DVT in the lower extremities had been so severe during filter implantation that interventional radiological therapies in addition to traditional anticoagulation therapies were required (40% in patients with recurrent VTE vs. 23% in those without VTE; p = 0.5866 according to Fisher’s exact probability test) and in patients in whom DVT remained at the time of filter retrieval (60% in patients with recurrent VTE vs. 37% in those without VTE; p = 0.3637). In conclusion, new or recurrent VTE was rare after retrieval of IVC filters but was most likely to occur in patients who had severe DVT during filter implantation and/or in patients with a DVT that remained at the time of filter retrieval. We must point out that the fatality rate from PE after filter removal was high (2.6%).
Pulmonary embolism; Thrombosis of extremities; Interventional procedures; Vena cava filters
At present there is no reliable method of recognising atrial isomerism by two dimensional echocardiography. We therefore used two dimensional echocardiography to examine 158 patients including 25 with atrial isomerism and four with situs inversus. Particular attention was paid to the short and long axis subcostal scans of the abdomen. Using the position of the inferior vena cava and the aorta with respect to the spine it was possible to separate those with situs solitus from the others. Two false positives for abnormal situs had exomphalos. In situs solitus the aorta lay to the left of the spine and the inferior vena cava lay to the right. One patient with situs solitus and azygos continuation of the inferior vena cava also had inferior vena cava to right atrial connection. In the four patients with situs inversus the mirror image of the normal pattern was present. In nine patients with right isomerism the inferior vena cava and aorta ran together on one or other side of the spine. The inferior vena cava, anterior to the aorta at the level of the diaphragm, received at least the right hepatic veins (normal or partial anomalous hepatic venous connection). Of the 16 patients with left isomerism, 14 had azygos continuation of the inferior vena cava which was visualised posterior to the aorta in all but two. All patients with left isomerism had total anomalous hepatic venous connection to one or both atria via one or two separate veins. Two dimensional echocardiography therefore provides the means of detecting abnormal atrial situs and of diagnosing right or left isomerism in the great majority of patients, if not all.
Patients with deep venous thrombosis (DVT) of the lower extremities have an increased
risk of pulmonary emboli and post-thrombotic syndrome. Traditionally, they are treated
medicinally, with anticoagulation therapy. Currently, endovascular therapies, with their
higher efficiency, have replaced previously attempted systemic fibrinolytic therapies.
There is a continuing controversy in the temporary use of filters in the inferior vena
cava during these endovascular therapies, which may include catheter-directed
thrombolysis, manual aspiration, mechanical thrombectomy, percutaneous transluminal
angioplasty and placement of self-expandable metallic stents. Here, we present an overview
of the literature and analysis on the application of prophylactic implantation of an
inferior vena cava filter during endovascular therapy for DVT of the lower
embolism; pulmonary; endovascular therapies; extremities; thrombosis; vena cava; filters
Massive pulmonary embolism (PE) in a small child is a rare event and unified guidelines for its treatment are missing. Timely diagnosis and management of massive pulmonary embolism is of crucial importance for a good outcome. We describe a unique management of PE causing oxygenation failure using a combination of catheter extraction technique, and regional thrombolysis on top of systemic heparin administration and inferior vena cava filter placement. Pulmonary hypertension was treated with inhaled nitric oxide. We believe that catheter extraction technique and regional thrombolysis is an option to consider provided that resources and expertise are available. Preoperative placement of an inferior vena cava filter should be contemplated in such high risk situations.
embolectomy; regional thrombolysis; inferior vena cava filter; inhaled nitric oxide
Objectives: To describe the mode of presentation, interventions, and outcome of HIV infected patients with pulmonary embolism and a contraindication to anticoagulation, who were treated with a bird's nest filter.
Methods: Retrospective review of case records and imaging department database at UCL Hospitals, London, UK.
Results: Three patients had pulmonary embolism and contraindications to anticoagulation. Contraindications were concomitant intracerebral pathology in two patients (one also had bleeding from gastric Kaposi's sarcoma and the other was cognitively impaired with HIV associated dementia complex) and alcohol induced liver disease/binge drinking in the third patient. Anticoagulation was avoided by introducing a bird's nest filter into the inferior vena cava via the common femoral vein. During follow up (7, 8, and 21 months) no complications or recurrent pulmonary emboli occurred.
Conclusion: The bird's nest inferior vena cava filter has a role in preventing further pulmonary emboli in HIV infected patients with contraindications to anticoagulation.
Key Words: pulmonary embolism; HIV; AIDS; haemorrhage; anticoagulation