Bowel penetration by inferior vena cava filters: Feasibility and safety of percutaneous retrieval

Winston B. Joe, Michael L. Larson, Sreekumar Madassery, A. Michael Devane, Brian P. Holly, Ronald F. Sing, Paul J. Rochon, Mark L Lessne, Ahmed K. Abdel Aal, Andrew J. Gunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety and technical feasibility of inferior vena cava filter (IVCF) removal when filter elements penetrate adjacent bowel. MATERIALS AND METHODS. A multicenter retrospective review of IVCF retrievals between 2008 and 2018 was performed. Adult patients with either CT or endoscopic evidence of filter elements penetrating bowel before retrieval were included. Technical success of IVCF retrieval was recorded. Patient records were assessed for immediate, 30-day, and 90-day complications after retrieval. RESULTS. Thirty-nine consecutive adult patients (11 men and 28 women; mean age, 51.2 years; age range, 18–81 years) qualified for inclusion. Filter dwell time was a median of 148 days (range, 32–5395 days). No IVCFs were known to have migrated or caused iliocaval thrombosis. Five IVCFs (12.8%) had more than 15° tilt relative to the inferior vena cava (IVC) before retrieval. Three IVCFs (7.7%) had fractured elements identified at the time of retrieval. Mean international normalized ratio (INR) was 1.24 ± 0.53 (SD), and mean platelet count was 262 ± 139 × 103/μL. Ten patients (25.6%) were on antibiotics at the time of retrieval. All 39 IVCFs were successfully retrieved (technical success = 100%). Two patients experienced minor complications in the immediate postprocedural period, which resulted in a minor complication rate of 5.1%. There were no complications (major or minor) identified in any patient at 30 or 90 days after retrieval. The overall major complication rate was 0%. CONCLUSION. Endovascular retrieval of IVCFs with CT evidence of filter elements that have penetrated adjacent bowel is both safe and technically feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1152-1156
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • Complex filter retrieval
  • Filter penetration
  • Filter retrieval
  • Inferior vena cava filter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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