The bird's nest inferior vena cava filter, in clinical trial since 1982, has been placed in 568 patients at risk for pulmonary embolism. Of the 481 patients in whom the filter had been in place for 6 months or more, 440 were followed up clinically. The prevalence of clinically suspected recurrent pulmonary thromboembolism was 2.7% (12 patients) and that of inferior vena cava filter occlusion was 2.9% (13 patients). With the initial filter design, filter migration occurred in five patients. No migrations have occurred in the 147 patients treated with the filter after its modification to improve the anchoring system for greater stability. The bird's nest filter has proved safe and effective in the prevention of pulmonary embolism.