CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 174–177 | Cite as

Failed Retrieval of an Inferior Vena Cava Filter During Pregnancy Because of Filter Tilt: Report of Two Cases

  • R. M. McConville
  • P. T. Kennedy
  • A. J. Collins
  • P. K. Ellis
Case Report


Thromboembolic disease during pregnancy is an important cause of obstetric morbidity and mortality. Pregnant patients with venous thromboembolism are usually managed by conventional anticoagulation. However, this must be discontinued during vaginal or caesarian delivery to avoid haemorrhage and to reduce the risk of possible epidural haematoma. Retrievable inferior vena cava filters (IVCFs) offer protection against pulmonary embolism during this high-risk period, when anticoagulation is discontinued, while avoiding potential long-term sequelae of a permanent IVCF. Here we report two patients who presented in the third trimester of pregnancy with floating ileofemoral deep vein thrombosis. Both patients were initially treated with standard anticoagulation; however, shortly before delivery both patients had a retrievable IVCF placed in a suprarenal position. In both patients, retrieval failed at 28 days after insertion because of filter tilt. The timing and mechanism of filter tilt remains uncertain. We believe that a number of factors could have been involved, including change in the anatomic configuration with lateral displacement of the IVCF as a result of the gravid uterus as well as forceful uterine contractions during labour, which modified the shape and diameter of the IVC. We showed that failure to retrieve the IVCF has had considerable implications for the two young patients regarding long-term anticoagulation and have highlighted the need for further clinical trials regarding the safe use of retrievable IVCFs during pregnancy.


Retrievable IVC filters DVT Pulmonary embolism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. McConville
    • 1
  • P. T. Kennedy
    • 1
  • A. J. Collins
    • 1
  • P. K. Ellis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyRoyal Victoria HospitalBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK

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