Safety and Effectiveness of Inferior Vena Cava Filters Used to Protect Against Pulmonary Embolus: A Technology Assessment

Judith Walsh, MD, MPH



In This Article


Inferior vena cava filters have been widely used and it is surprising how few studies have evaluated their safety and efficacy. Inferior vena cava filters have been compared to no filters in only two studies, one of which only included patients with hip fractures and the other high risk patients. These studies showed reduced recurrent PE but an increased risk of DVT with IVC filters, and there was not associated reduction in mortality. Although IVC filters are commonly used for prophylaxis in high risk patients including trauma patients, neurosurgical patients, patients with malignancy and super-obese patients undergoing surgery, whether or not their use leads to a net benefit is not known.


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