Prophylactic inferior vena cava filters: Do they make a difference in trauma patients?

Robert A. Cherry, Pamela A. Nichols, Theresa M. Snavely, Mauger T. David, Frank C. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background:: Inferior vena cava filters (IVCF) are used in trauma patients to reduce the incidence of pulmonary embolism (PE). This study investigates the efficacy of prophylactic IVCF (PIVCF) placement from implantation through outpatient follow-up. Methods:: Data were prospectively collected on PIVCF placed in trauma patients ≥ 18-years old from 2004 to 2006. Exclusion criteria include therapeutic IVCF, major burns, deviated from a modified EAST protocol, and deaths. Data were collected on age, gender, Injury Severity Score (ISS), filter type, total implant days, PE, deep venous thrombosis (DVT), and filter-related complications. Statistical analysis: p < 0.05*, χ square test, mean ± SD. Results:: Of 4,936 patients, 280 had an IVCF with 244 meeting inclusion criteria. Study group demographics: 63.5% men; 98.8% blunt; mean age 43.8 ± 20.3; ISS 26.7 ± 12.8. There were 176 of 244 (72.1%) patients who met traditional EAST guidelines for PIVCF. PIVCF increased significantly from 29 in 2004 to 127 in 2006 with no difference in the PE rate (0.7% to 0.4%). There were 4 PEs (1.6%) on postprocedure days 7, 14, 18, and 23. Five technical complications occurred: two filter fractures, two caudal migrations, and one filter tilt. A total of 140 retrievable filters had the opportunity for outpatient follow-up for 18 months with 58.6% removed, 15.7% declared permanent, 12.1% lost to follow-up, and 13.6% still considered potential removal candidates. Days to implant: 0 to 32; 3.89 ± 4.79. Implant days: 15 to 838; mean 231 ± 162. Conclusions:: PIVCF increased significantly without impacting the overall PE rate. There was a 1.6% PE rate among PIVCF, high retrieval rate (59%), low complication rate (0.1%), and satisfactory compliance with traditional EAST guidelines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-548
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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