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Novel Technique Safely Removes Failed IVC Filters

By Daniel Beris
Posted on 08 Dec 2016
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Image: An IVC filter inside the inferior vena cava (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock).
Image: An IVC filter inside the inferior vena cava (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock).
A new study describes a technique to successfully remove permanent inferior vena cava (IVC) filters that can cause thrombosis.

Developed by researchers at Rush University Medical Center (Chicago, IL, USA) and Rush Oak Park Hospital (Oak Park, IL, USA), the new minimally invasive technique is used to carefully snare the IVC filter, hold it in place, and then cover it to prevent sections breaking free. Percutaneous access (PCA) under X-ray guidance is used to manipulate the wires, catheters, alligator forceps and excimer laser necessary to remove the IVC filter, which can be up to 29 mm in length.

The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis using conscious sedation in the interventional radiology suite. In case of a more advanced retrieval, it is performed using general anesthesia due to the time it may take to remove the filter. Thanks to the new method, the researchers have achieved a 100% retrieval rate over the past five years, including difficult-to-remove filters from patients who have been referred to Rush from other hospitals. The study describing the technique was published in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology.

“We have both the standard retrieval methods as well as the most advanced tools to remove any type of filter, and we have the medical expertise to treat any complications from the filter being implanted,” said lead author interventional radiologist Osman Ahmed, MD, of Rush University Medical Center and Rush Oak Park Hospital.

An IVC filter is placed into the inferior vena cava in order to prevent pulmonary emboli (PE). But while IVC filters can reduce the incidence of PE, they can also increase the incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The many long-term complications of permanent IVC filters include device migration, embolization after detachment of device components, perforation of the IVC, and filter fracture. These adverse events have led to the introduction of retrievable IVC filters.

Related Links:
Rush University Medical Center
Rush Oak Park Hospital

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