Background: Acute pulmonary embolism is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults, and IVC filters have historically and frequently been used to prevent subsequent PE. Almost one in six elderly Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries with PE currently receives an IVC filter.
Study design: Retrospective, matched cohort study.
Setting: United States inpatients during 2011-2014.
Synopsis: Of 214,579 Medicare FFS patients aged 65 years or older who were hospitalized for acute PE, 13.4% received an IVC filter. Mortality was higher in those receiving an IVC filter (11.6%), compared with those who did not receive an IVC filter (9.3%), with an adjusted odds ratio of 30-day mortality of 1.02 (95% CI, 0.98-1.06). One-year mortality rates were 20.5% in the IVC filter group and 13.4% in the group with no IVC filter, with an adjusted OR of 1.35 (95% CI, 1.31-1.40).
In the 76,198 Medicare FFS patients hospitalized with acute PE in the matched cohort group, 18.2% received an IVC filter. The IVC-filter group had higher odds for 30-day mortality, compared with the no–IVC filter group (OR, 2.19; 95% CI, 2.06-2.33).
Bottom line: In patients aged 65 years or older, use caution when considering IVC filter placement for prevention of subsequent PE. Future studies across patient subgroups are needed to analyze the safety and value of IVC filters.
Citation: Bikdeli B et al. Association of inferior vena cava filter use with mortality rates in older adults with acute pulmonary embolism. JAMA Intern Med. 2019;179(2):263-5.
Dr. Trammell Velasquez is an associate professor of medicine in the division of general and hospital medicine at UT Health San Antonio and a hospitalist at South Texas Veterans Health Care System.