CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 299–308 | Cite as

Perforation of the IVC: Rule Rather Than Exception After Longer Indwelling Times for the Günther Tulip and Celect Retrievable Filters

  • Jeremy C. DurackEmail author
  • Antonio C. Westphalen
  • Stephanie Kekulawela
  • Shiv B. Bhanu
  • David E. Avrin
  • Roy L. Gordon
  • Robert K. Kerlan
Clinical Investigation



This study was designed to assess the incidence, magnitude, and impact upon retrievability of vena caval perforation by Günther Tulip and Celect conical inferior vena cava (IVC) filters on computed tomographic (CT) imaging.


Günther Tulip and Celect IVC filters placed between July 2007 and May 2009 were identified from medical records. Of 272 IVC filters placed, 50 (23 Günther Tulip, 46%; 27 Celect, 54%) were retrospectively assessed on follow-up abdominal CT scans performed for reasons unrelated to the filter. Computed tomography scans were examined for evidence of filter perforation through the vena caval wall, tilt, or pericaval tissue injury. Procedure records were reviewed to determine whether IVC filter retrieval was attempted and successful.


Perforation of at least one filter component through the IVC was observed in 43 of 50 (86%) filters on CT scans obtained between 1 and 880 days after filter placement. All filters imaged after 71 days showed some degree of vena caval perforation, often as a progressive process. Filter tilt was seen in 20 of 50 (40%) filters, and all tilted filters also demonstrated vena caval perforation. Transjugular removal was attempted in 12 of 50 (24%) filters and was successful in 11 of 12 (92%).


Longer indwelling times usually result in vena caval perforation by retrievable Günther Tulip and Celect IVC filters. Although infrequently reported in the literature, clinical sequelae from IVC filter components breaching the vena cava can be significant. We advocate filter retrieval as early as clinically indicated and increased attention to the appearance of IVC filters on all follow-up imaging studies.


Pulmonary thromboembolism IVC filter perforation Celect Günther Tulip 



The authors thank Dr. Rebecca Scherzer for her contributions to the statistical analysis in this study.

Conflict of Interest

I certify that there is no actual or potential conflict of interest in relation to this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC and the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy C. Durack
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antonio C. Westphalen
    • 1
  • Stephanie Kekulawela
    • 2
  • Shiv B. Bhanu
    • 3
  • David E. Avrin
    • 1
  • Roy L. Gordon
    • 1
  • Robert K. Kerlan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Radiology and Biomedical ImagingUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryPenn State Milton S. Hershey Medical CenterHersheyUSA
  3. 3.University of California, San Francisco School of MedicineSan FranciscoUSA

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