National Trends in Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement and Retrieval Procedures in the Medicare Population Over Two Decades

J Am Coll Radiol. 2018 Aug;15(8):1080-1086. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2018.04.024. Epub 2018 Jul 2.


Purpose: To assess trends in inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement and retrieval procedures in Medicare beneficiaries over the last two decades.

Methods: Using Physician/Supplier Procedure Summary Master Files from 1994 through 2015, we calculated utilization rates for IVC filter placement and retrieval procedures in Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. Services were stratified by provider specialty group and site of service.

Results: IVC filter placement rates increased from 1994 to 2008 (from 65.0 to 202.1 per 100,000 beneficiaries, compound annual growth rate [CAGR] +8.4%) and then decreased to 128.9 by 2015 (CAGR -6.2%). This decrease was observed across all specialty groups and sites of service. From 1994 to 2015, placement procedure market share increased for radiologists (from 45.1% to 62.7%) and cardiologists (from 2.5% to 6.7%) but decreased for surgeons (from 46.6% to 27.9%). Overall, procedures shifted slightly from the inpatient (from 94.5% to 86.5% of all procedures) to outpatient hospital (from 4.9% to 14.9%) settings. Between 2012 and 2015, retrieval rates increased from 12.0 to 17.7 (CAGR +13.9%). Retrievals as a percentage of placement procedures were similar across specialties in 2015 (range 13.0%-13.8%).

Conclusion: Despite prior dramatic growth, the utilization of IVC filters in Medicare beneficiaries markedly declined over the last decade, likely relating to evolving views regarding efficacy and long-term safety. This decline was accompanied by several filter-related market shifts, including increasing placement by radiologists and cardiologists, increasing outpatient placement procedures, and increasing retrieval rates.

Keywords: IVC filter; Medicare; health policy; physician specialty; utilization.

MeSH terms

  • Device Removal / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicare*
  • United States
  • Vena Cava Filters / trends*
  • Vena Cava, Inferior*