Purpose: To increase the understanding of risks of inferior vena cava (IVC) filter fracture and embolization and the safety of removing fractured filters via retrospective review of a prospectively collected database of fractured IVC filters.
Materials and methods: A total of 63 fractured IVC filters were discovered among 548 patients presenting for retrievable filter removal between April 2004 and November 2010 at a single institution. Device type, duration of implantation, component fracture, and embolization events were recorded. Success rates and techniques for removal of components were recorded.
Results: A total of 63 fractured Recovery, G2, and G2 Express IVC filters were identified, for an overall fracture rate of 12%. Excluding foot process fractures, the fracture rate for only filter arms and/or legs was 6%. The incidence of fracture increased with longer filter dwell times. Success rates for removal of the nonfractured component (ie, main body) and fractured components (ie, arm or leg) were 98.4% and 53.4%, respectively. The distal embolization rate of fractured filter components was 13%. There were no immediate clinically significant complications associated with fracture component embolization or filter removal. A single patient was encountered with symptoms related to their fractured filter.
Conclusions: IVC filter fracture rates increase with longer dwell times; however, removal of fractured filters and fractured components (ie, arms and legs) can be achieved safely and effectively. Clinically significant complications of IVC filter fracture are rare, and there were no immediate clinical sequelae related to embolization of fracture components.
Copyright © 2012 SIR. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.