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The Safety of Continuing Therapeutic Anticoagulation During Inferior Vena Cava Filter Retrieval: A 6-Year Retrospective Review from a Tertiary Centre



Assess the safety of inferior vena cava (IVC) filter retrieval in patients taking anticoagulation, compared to a non-anticoagulated cohort.

Materials and Methods

Single-centre retrospective analysis of patients who underwent IVC filter retrieval between January 2012 and February 2018. Information about patient demographics, anticoagulation, tilt, major and minor complications was collected. Major complications were defined as: IVC injury from the filter retrieval, retained fragment of filter, filter fracture and filter embolisation. Minor complications were defined as: neck haematoma and puncture site infection.


Total of 357 patients (age 18–95, Male: 231) underwent IVC filter retrieval, comprising of Cook Celect Platinum, Cook Celect, and ALN-branded filters. Of these 182 patients were on anticoagulation and 175 patients were not on anticoagulation, based on the indication for the filter (thrombosis or prophylaxis) and at the discretion of the referring unit who were managing the anticoagulation. IVC filter retrieval was technically successful in 349 patients. Five major complications (1.4% of retrievals) were recorded and no minor complications (0% of retrievals). In the anticoagulation cohort, there were two major complications (1.1% of retrievals) both related to IVC injury. In the non-anticoagulated cohort, there were three major complications (1.7% of retrievals) relating to filter embolisation, IVC injury, and filter fracture.


IVC filter retrieval is a safe procedure with a low complication rate. Being on anticoagulation does not increase the risk of a major complication or change the management of major complication compared with a non-anticoagulated cohort. IVC filter retrieval is safe to perform in patients currently taking prophylactic or therapeutic anticoagulation based on our cohort.

Level of Evidence

Level 3, retrospective cohort study.

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The team would like to acknowledge the following Consultant Interventional Radiologists who were also involved in the management of these patients: Dr. Jim Koukounaras, Dr. Tim Joseph, Dr. Tuan Phan, Dr. Kelvin Stribley and A/Prof Stuart Lyon.


This study was not supported by any funding.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Warren Clements.

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Approval was obtained by The Alfred Human Research and Ethics Committee prior to performing this study.

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Kassamali, R.H., Burlak, K., Lee, J.T.L. et al. The Safety of Continuing Therapeutic Anticoagulation During Inferior Vena Cava Filter Retrieval: A 6-Year Retrospective Review from a Tertiary Centre. Cardiovasc Intervent Radiol 42, 1110–1116 (2019).

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  • Interventional radiology
  • IVC filter
  • Anticoagulation
  • Complication
  • Haemorrhage