IVC filters have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade, but retrieval rates remain low — less than 30% are ever removed. Advanced retrieval techniques have been developed, but it is not always clear when these techniques are necessary.
In a new study published in the journal Circulation, Dr. Kush Desai and colleagues discovered that standard retrieval techniques were twice as likely to fail when an IVC filter had been implanted for over 7 months.
The study found an 18% failure-rate for standard IVC filter retrieval techniques. For IVC filters that had been implanted longer than 7 months, the failure-rate was 40.9% with standard retrieval techniques.
When standard techniques failed, surgeons were forced to switch to advanced techniques. Eventually, 98% of the IVC filters were successfully retrieved. The researchers warned that the chances of successfully retrieving a temporary IVC filter decrease the longer it is in the body.
The conclusions of the study were based on 762 retrieval procedures from January 2009 to April 2015. According to the study authors:
Patients with retrievable inferior vena cava filters in place beyond 7 months may benefit from referral to centers with expertise in advanced filter retrieval.”
In May 2014, the FDA recommended that the risk/benefit profile begins to favor removal of IVC filters between 29 and 54 days after implantation if the patient’s temporary risk of blood clots has subsided.