Prophylactic Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement Does Not Result in a Survival Benefit for Trauma Patients : Annals of Surgery

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Prophylactic Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement Does Not Result in a Survival Benefit for Trauma Patients

Hemmila, Mark R. MD*; Osborne, Nicholas H. MD*; Henke, Peter K. MD*; Kepros, John P. MD; Patel, Sujal G. MD; Cain-Nielsen, Anne H. MS*; Birkmeyer, Nancy J. PhD*

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Annals of Surgery 262(4):p 577-585, October 2015. | DOI: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000001434



Trauma patients are at high risk for life-threatening venous thromboembolic (VTE) events. We examined the relationship between prophylactic inferior vena cava (IVC) filter use, mortality, and VTE.

Summary Background Data: 

The prevalence of prophylactic placement of IVC filters has increased among trauma patients. However, there exists little data on the overall efficacy of prophylactic IVC filters with regard to outcomes.


Trauma quality collaborative data from 2010 to 2014 were analyzed. Patients were excluded with no signs of life, Injury Severity Score <9, hospitalization <3 days, or who received IVC filter after occurrence of VTE event. Risk-adjusted rates of IVC filter placement were calculated and hospitals placed into quartiles of IVC filter use. Mortality rates by quartile were compared. We also determined the association of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) with the presence of an IVC filter, accounting for type and timing of initiation of pharmacological VTE prophylaxis.


A prophylactic IVC filter was placed in 803 (2%) of 39,456 patients. Hospitals exhibited significant variability (0.6% to 9.6%) in adjusted rates of IVC filter utilization. Rates of IVC placement within quartiles were 0.7%, 1.3%, 2.1%, and 4.6%, respectively. IVC filter use quartiles showed no variation in mortality. Adjusting for pharmacological VTE prophylaxis and patient factors, prophylactic IVC filter placement was associated with an increased incidence of DVT (OR = 1.83; 95% CI, 1.15–2.93, P-value = 0.01).


High rates of prophylactic IVC filter placement have no effect on reducing trauma patient mortality and are associated with an increase in DVT events.

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