Systematic review of the use of retrievable inferior vena cava filters

Luis F. Angel, Victor Tapson, Richard E. Galgon, Marcos I. Restrepo, John Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

255 Scopus citations


Purpose: To review the available literature on retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filters to examine the effectiveness and risks of these devices. Materials and Methods: Investigators searched MEDLINE for clinical trials evaluating retrievable filters and reviewed the complications reported to the Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience (MAUDE) database of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Results: Eligibility criteria were met by 37 studies comprising 6,834 patients. All of the trials had limitations, and no studies were randomized. There were 11 prospective clinical trials; the rest were retrospective studies. Despite the limitations of the evidence, the IVC filters seemed to be effective in preventing pulmonary embolism (PE); the rate of PE after IVC placement was 1.7%. The mean retrieval rate was 34%. Most of the filters became permanent devices. Multiple complications associated with the use of IVC filters were described in the reviewed literature or were reported to the MAUDE database; most of these were associated with long-term use (> 30 days). At the present time, the objective comparison data of different filter designs do not support superiority of any particular design. Conclusions: In high-risk patients for whom anticoagulation is not feasible, retrievable IVC filters seem to be effective in preventing PE. Long-term complications are a serious concern with the use of these filters. The evidence of the effectiveness and the risks was limited by the small number of prospective studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1522-1530.e3
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011



  • ACCP
  • American College of Chest Physicians
  • CI
  • DVT
  • FDA
  • IVC
  • Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience
  • PE
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • VTE
  • confidence interval
  • deep vein thrombosis
  • inferior vena cava
  • pulmonary embolism
  • venous thromboembolism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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