Background: Several authors have showed that bedside insertion of inferior vena cava filters (IVCF) is feasible and cost effective, with the additional benefit of not having to transport a critically ill patient to the operating room or radiology department. The objective of this study was to examine our experience of 158 IVCF insertions at the bedside in the intensive care unit.
Study design: A prospective, observational study of bedside IVCF insertion performed by the authors from February 1996 through August 2000 was undertaken.
Results: One hundred fifty-eight patients underwent bedside IVCF insertion in the intensive care unit. The mean age was 42.2 years (SD 17.5 years). The mean Injury Severity Score of the trauma patients was 27.3 (SD 14.5). The majority of patients (90%) had a prophylactic indication for IVCF insertion using our institutional guidelines for venous thromboembolic prophylaxis for trauma patients. All IVCF insertions were successfully performed at the bedside after iodinated contrast or carbon dioxide cavography. The mortality was 11% (n = 18), none attributable to the IVCF insertion or cavagram. There was one asymptomatic cava occlusion and one postinsertion pulmonary embolus in a patients with a subclavian vein thrombosis.
Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the safety and efficacy of IVCF insertion at the bedside in the ICU. This method offers less resource use and more safety for critically ill patients, avoiding the hazards of intrahospital transport.