Complications encountered with the use of the Greenfield filter

Am J Surg. 1987 Aug;154(2):163-8. doi: 10.1016/0002-9610(87)90171-1.


The Greenfield filter can be used with a low complication rate provided one adheres to certain principles. First, preoperative venography to define the inferior vena caval anatomy will help avoid difficulties associated with anatomic variations. At the time the study is carried out, it would be extremely useful if the radiologist places a radiopaque marker at the level of the renal veins. This will ensure that filters will be placed in the infrarenal position when appropriate, thus preventing occasional inadvertent discharge, particularly into the right renal vein. Second, use of a guide wire greatly facilitates passage of the introducer and accurate intracaval positioning. Third, intraoperative technical errors must be recognized and promptly corrected. Finally, meticulous postoperative follow-up is essential, and recurrent embolism or any change in filter position requires repeat roentgenography of the vena cava to guide appropriate corrective treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Filtration / instrumentation*
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / prevention & control*
  • Thrombosis / epidemiology
  • Vena Cava, Inferior* / abnormalities