Background: Venous thromboembolism and pulmonary embolism are common after major trauma. Anticoagulant prophylaxis usually is not considered because of the increased risk of bleeding. Despite the limited data, many trauma centers use inferior vena cava (IVC) filters as a primary means to prevent pulmonary embolism.
Study design: Randomized, controlled, and multicenter trial.
Setting: Four tertiary hospitals in Australia.
Synopsis: 240 major trauma patients were randomly assigned to receive either IVC filter or no IVC filter within 72 hours after admission. The primary endpoint was a composite of 90-day mortality or symptomatic pulmonary embolism confirmed on imaging. There was no difference in the rate of composite outcome in those with IVC filter, compared with those with no IVC filter.
Bottom line: After major trauma, early prophylactic placement of IVC filter did not reduce the 90-day mortality or incidence of symptomatic pulmonary embolism.
Citation: Ho KM et al. A multicenter trial of vena cava filters in severely injured patients. N Engl J Med. 2019 Jul 25;381:328-37.
Dr. Hoque Sharmy is a hospitalist and assistant professor of medicine in the division of hospital medicine at St. Louis University School of Medicine.