Clinical question: How does inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement affect 30-day mortality in patients with venous thromboembolism (VTE) with increased risk of bleeding when anticoagulation is not feasible?
Background: Standard treatment for VTE, including deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), is anticoagulation. However, for patients with active bleeding or increased risk of bleeding, anticoagulation may be contraindicated. In these circumstances, placing an IVC filter is recommended by major professional societies; however, the mortality benefit of IVC filter placement is uncertain.
Study design: A retrospective cohort study.
Setting: State Inpatient and Emergency Department Databases from California, Florida, and New York hospitals from 2005 to 2012.
Synopsis: The authors compared the 30-day mortality rates in 45,771 hospitalized adult patients with inpatient diagnosis codes of PE and/or DVT, as well as a contraindication to anticoagulation, who underwent IVC filter placement with 80,259 similar patients who did not undergo IVC filter placement. Baseline characteristics and coexisting conditions were similar in the two populations. The authors found that patients with IVC filter placement had an increased risk of 30-day mortality, compared with patients without an IVC filter placed (HR, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.13-1.22; P less than .001).
This study used observational data derived from reimbursement codes, which lacked unmeasured confounders (for example, severity of VTE and fragility score), so randomized, controlled trials are required to confirm the results. Nevertheless, this study should prompt physicians to carefully consider decisions to place an IVC filter in the setting of a contraindication to anticoagulation.
Bottom line: IVC filter placement in patients with VTE and contraindication for anticoagulation was associated with an increased 30-day mortality. Randomized, controlled trials are required to confirm the observed results.
Citation: Turner TE et al. Association of inferior vena cava filter placement for venous thromboembolic disease and a contraindication to anticoagulation with 30-day mortality..
Dr. Kobaidze is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of hospital medicine at Emory University, Atlanta.