Introduction: Characteristics and outcomes of patients undergoing inferior vena cava (IVC) filter insertion are not well reported. Particularly, the role of long term anticoagulation in these patients is unclear.
Aims: (1) To describe in a cohort of patients undergoing IVC filter insertion, underlying diseases, indications for filter insertion, complications, and survival. (2) To determine the effect of long term anticoagulant treatment on thromboembolism and patient survival.
Study design: A retrospective analysis of 109 consecutive patients undergoing IVC filter insertion in two university hospitals.
Results: Average age was 67.4 years. Median duration of follow up was two years. Indications for IVC filter insertion were: contraindication to anticoagulation (n = 61, 56%), prophylactic insertion (n = 29, 27%), thromboembolism while receiving adequate anticoagulation (n = 17, 15%), and non-compliance with anticoagulation (n = 2, 2%). Insertion related complications were groin haematoma in four patients (3.5%) and localised infection at the puncture site in one patient (0.9%). Fifty six patients (51.4%) died during the study period. Of these, 22 received long term anticoagulants and 34 did not. Overall and thrombosis free survival was greater in the anticoagulant treated group (median survival not reached) than in the untreated group (median survival = 12 months). Patients not receiving long term anticoagulation after IVC filter insertion were nearly 2.5-fold more likely to die or experience venous thromboembolism.
Conclusion: IVC filter insertion was a safe procedure and was performed for appropriate indications in the patients studied. In patients surviving for longer than 30 days, prolonged administration of oral anticoagulants was associated with improved survival with no significant increase in haemorrhagic complications.
- VTE, venous thromboembolism
- IVC, inferior vena cava
- DVT, deep vein thrombosis
- vena cava filter
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Conflicts of interest: none declared.
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