Utility and Clinical Outcomes of Perioperative Inferior Vena Cava Filter Prophylaxis in Spine Surgery Patients

Mina S. Makary, Mensur Koso, Matthew Yoder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Design. Single-center retrospective chart review study. Objective. This study aimed to assess the clinical outcomes of prophylactic inferior vena cava (IVC) filter use for pulmonary embolism (PE) prevention in spine surgery patients. Summary of Background Data. IVC filters can serve an important prophylactic role in preventing PE, though research involving spine surgery patients is sparse. Materials and Methods. This Institutional Review Board-approved single-center retrospective study assessed the characteristics and outcomes of patients who underwent spine surgery and received perioperative IVC filters for PE prophylaxis from January 2007 until December 2021. Clinical outcomes centered primarily on the occurrence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) as well as complications related to filter placement and retrieval. Thrombi that may have been entrapped by the filters were recorded incidentally on computed tomography or during the filter retrieval procedure. Results. This cohort included 380 spine surgery patients (female 51%/male 49%; median age, 61) who had received perioperative prophylactic IVC filters. The mean dwell time was 6.7 months (1-39 mo), with an overall 62% retrieval rate. Retrievals were further categorized by retrieval complexity, with 92% classified as routine and 8% as involving advanced removal techniques, while complications involved 1% (four retrievals) and were all minor. Regarding VTE event occurrence, deep vein thrombi (DVT) were experienced by 11% of patients in the postplacement period, with 1% (n=4) experiencing a PE. There were 11 incidences of thrombi that were found within or near the filters (2.9%). A multivariate analysis further assessed patient characteristics that correlated with the occurrence of PE, DVT, entrapped filter thrombi, advanced technique filter removal, and removal complications. Conclusions. IVC filters in this high-risk spine surgery cohort achieved a relatively low rate of DVT and PE as well as a low complication rate, whereas several patient characteristics were identified that correlated with VTE events and filter retrieval outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-576
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2024


  • DVT
  • IVC filter
  • PE
  • prophylaxis
  • spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


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