Objective: The long-term results of Greenfield inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement have been well documented in adults; however, similar data do not exist for pediatric patients. The potential for growth and the increased life expectancy in younger patients may contribute to a difference in the natural history of filters placed in children. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term outcome of pediatric patients with IVC filters.
Methods: At the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, medical records and radiographs of patients 18 years old or younger at the time of IVC filter placement were reviewed. Follow-up data were obtained by interview, physical examination, and venous duplex ultrasound scanning.
Results: A total of 15 IVC filters were placed in children 18 years old or younger between 1983 and 1999. In 10 patients the indications for IVC filter placement were lower-extremity deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and/or pulmonary embolism. In five patients, prophylactic filters were placed in the absence of DVT because of a high risk for the development of pulmonary embolism. Surgical exposure of the right internal jugular vein was used to place the first eight filters. The remainder were inserted percutaneously through the right internal jugular vein or the right common femoral vein. There were no complications or mortality related to filter insertion. Follow-up of the surviving 14 patients ranged from 19 months to 16 years. During long-term follow-up, no patient had a pulmonary embolus. Of the nine patients who had lower-extremity DVT, three developed mild common femoral venous reflux documented by duplex scan. Of the five patients who had prophylactic filters, four had no symptoms or duplex evidence of reflux. The other patient, who was paraplegic, had bilateral leg edema but no venous varicosities and no reflux on duplex scan 11 years after filter placement. No patient in either group had chronic venous obstruction.
Conclusion: In long-term follow-up there were no instances of pulmonary embolism, IVC thrombosis, significant postphlebitic symptoms, or significant filter migration among 14 pediatric patients with Greenfield IVC filters. This suggests a safety profile and efficacy similar to that seen in adults.