November 23, 2015 — A new study has found that IVC filters do not improve outcomes for trauma patients, but significantly increase the risk of blood clots.
The study was published in the Annals of Surgery in October 2015 by researchers affiliated with the University of Michigan.
Researchers found an 83% increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) but no reduction in mortality rates for trauma patients who received a filter. Hospitals also exhibited wide variation in rates of IVC filter utilization.
Conclusions were based on data collected from 2010-2014 on nearly 40,000 trauma patients, including 803 (2%) who received an IVC filter. Researchers concluded:
“High rates of prophylactic IVC filter placement have no effect on reducing trauma patient mortality and are associated with an increase in DVT events.”
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when blood clots form in veins deep inside the body, usually in the lower leg or thigh. The blood clots can cause severe venous swelling or break loose and obstruct circulation.
Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are supposed to reduce the risk of pulmonary embolism by catching blood clots before they enter the lungs. However, benefits must be carefully weighed against risks. IVC filters are associated with spontaneous migration, fracture, perforation of the vena cava, and more.
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