A method for following patients with retrievable inferior vena cava filters: Results and lessons learned from the first 1,100 patients

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Purpose: Patients who have undergone implantation of a retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filter require continued follow-up to have the device removed when clinically appropriate and in a timely fashion to avoid potential long-term filter-related complications. The efficacy of a method for patient follow-up was evaluated based on a retrospective review of a single-institutional retrievable IVC filter experience. Materials and Methods: Patients with retrievable IVC filters were tracked via a prospectively collected database designed specifically for patient follow-up. Follow-up consisted of periodic review of the electronic medical record. Patients were contacted by mail (at regular intervals one or more times) when removal of the filter was deemed appropriate. A retrospective review of the ultimate fate of the first 1,127 retrievable IVC filters placed at a single institution was performed. Retrieval rates were compared with those seen in the initial experience, during which no structured follow-up was performed. Results: Of 1,127 filters placed, 658 (58.4%) were removed. Filter removal or declaration of the device as permanent was achieved in 860 patients (76.3%). Filter removal, declaration of the device as permanent, or establishment of the need for continued follow-up was achieved in 941 patients (83.5%). Only 186 patients (16.5%) were lost to follow-up. Conclusions: The follow-up method described in the present study resulted in a statistically significant difference (P <.001) in the likelihood of a patient returning for IVC filter removal compared with a lack of follow-up (59% vs 24%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1507-1512
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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