Vena cava filters: Uses and abuses

John E. Rectenwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Currently, there are more than 10 permanent and optional retrievable vena cava filters in use in North America and Europe. Indications for inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement are intuitive and filters are used in patients who have deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and contraindications to anticoagulation, or in patients who hemorrhage while anticoagulated for DVT. Multiple studies have proposed broadening the use of IVC filters as primary venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis in certain patient populations. Many permanent IVC filters have been well studied and have superior performance characteristics. On the other hand, optional retrievable IVC filters are attractive in the patient with a well-defined, short-term risk for VTE and contraindications to anticoagulation. Filter retrieval after the patient can be anticoagulated would eliminate the long-term risk of DVT associated with permanent IVC filter placement. Unfortunately, most optional retrievable filters are relatively new and have little to no data on their long-term performance when used as permanent filters, and the percentage of retrievable filters actually removed is less than 50%. The spirited debate concerning which patient should get which filter is just beginning. More prospective, randomized trials evaluating optional retrievable filters are needed to answer these important questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-175
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in Vascular Surgery
Issue number3 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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