Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 321–325

Rates and Predictors of Plans for Inferior Vena Cava Filter Retrieval in Hospitalized Patients

  • John F. Mission
  • Robert K. KerlanJr.
  • Justin H. Tan
  • Margaret C. Fang
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11606-009-1227-y

Cite this article as:
Mission, J.F., Kerlan, R.K., Tan, J.H. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2010) 25: 321. doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1227-y



Use of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters has been increasing over time. However, because of the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis with permanent filters, placement of retrievable filters has been recommended. Little is known about the factors associated with planned retrieval of IVC filters.


To describe rates and predictors of plans to retrieve IVC filters in hospitalized patients.


We identified all IVC filter placements from 2001–2006 at an academic medical center and reviewed medical charts to obtain data about patient characteristics, filter retrieval plans, and retrieval success rates. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify independent predictors of planned filter retrieval in patients with retrievable filters.


Out of 240 patients who underwent placement of retrievable IVC filters, only 73 (30.4%) had documented plans for filter retrieval. Factors associated with lower rates of planned filter retrieval included a history of cancer [adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval 0.2 (0.1–0.5)] and not being discharged on anticoagulants [OR 0.1 (0.1–0.3)]. In addition, 36 (21.6%) of patients without retrieval plans had no contraindications to retrieval. Of the 62 patients who underwent attempted filter retrieval, 25.8% of filters could not be successfully removed.


Only 30.4% of patients who underwent placement of a retrievable IVC filter had documented plans for filter removal. Although most patients had justifiable reasons for filter retention, 21.6% of patients had no clear contraindications to filter removal. Efforts to improve rates of filter retrieval in appropriate patients may help reduce the long-term complications of IVC filters.


inferior vena cavafilter retrievaldeep vein thrombosis



inferior vena cava


standard deviation


venous thromboembolism

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • John F. Mission
    • 1
  • Robert K. KerlanJr.
    • 2
  • Justin H. Tan
    • 3
  • Margaret C. Fang
    • 4
  1. 1.The University of California San Francisco School of MedicineSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Section of Interventional Radiologythe University of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Radiologythe University of California San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  4. 4.Division of Hospital Medicinethe University of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA