Inferior vena cava filters in cancer patients: Indications and outcome

R. E. Schwarz, A. M. Marrero, K. C. Conlon, M. Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Purpose: Our experience with inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement to prevent pulmonary emboli (PE) in cancer patients with deep vein thromboses (DVT) was reviewed to identify indications, patient characteristics, complications, and long-term outcome. Methods: Charts of 182 patients with cancer were retrospectively analyzed. All patients had received an IVC filter in our institution between January 1980 and April 1992. Results: Of 182 patients, 103 were men and 79 were women. Median age was 59 years (range, 15 to 88). Eight patients (4%) had stage I disease, 22 patients (12%) stage II, 37 patients (20%) stage III, and 115 patients (63%) stage IV. A DVT was diagnosed in 97 patients (53%), a PE in 46 patients (25%), and a combination in 39 patients (21%). Indications for IVC filter placement were DVT or PE in the presence of contraindications to anticoagulation therapy (perioperative, n = 58; CNS metastases, n = 20; thrombocytopenia, n = 7; bleeding, n = 61; others, n = 24; total, N = 170) or anticoagulation failure (recurrent PE, n = 6; recurrent DVT; n = 6; total N = 12). Filter placement complications (n = 6, 3%) included malposition (n = 3), migration (n = 1), arrhythmia (n = 1), and wound infection (n = 1), but no deaths. After filter placement, four patients developed a recurrent PE, and 11 patients developed a recurrent DVT. No significant postthrombotic complications were observed. Conclusion: IVC filter placement patients with advanced cancer and thrombotic complications is safe, well tolerated, and can offer effective therapy/prophylaxis with a low incidence of treatment failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)652-657
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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