Purpose: To report a 10-year clinical experience with superior vena cava (SVC) retrievable filters. Methods: A retrospective review of patients with SVC filters was performed between 2008 and 2018 in a single tertiary medical center. Patient demographics, indications for filter placement, type of filter placed, and clinical evolution were recorded. Complications during placement, retrieval, and follow-up were determined. Results: Fifty patients ages 17–89 years (average 54) underwent SVC retrievable filter placement. Main indication for filter placement was deep venous thrombosis of the major upper extremity and/or internal jugular veins with contraindications to anticoagulation. Complications during placement included inadvertent filter placement in the right brachiocephalic vein in two patients, another patient had a leg of the filter entrapped in the tip of a hemodialysis catheter that required filter reposition and line exchange. Thirteen patients had attempted retrieval with 12 filters successfully removed 7–420 days after placement (mean 170). On follow-up images available in 24 patients, 13 filters were noted to be significantly tilted and 10 filters had evidence of leg penetration. No other serious late complications were noted. Conclusion: The use of retrievable SVC filters in patients with upper extremity DVT is highly questionable. There is a high incidence of filter malposition, filter tilting, and leg penetration.
- pulmonary embolism
- superior vena cava
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine