Last month, a study was published regarding physician’s education on the use of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters. The purpose of the study was to see if the physicians’ familiarity with IVC filter use, the current evidence of its efficacy, and guidelines on insertion and retrieval had any impact on the physicians’ use of the device, and the retrieval rates.
The abstract for the study notes methodology involves “Fourteen continuing medical education-approved in-hospital grand rounds covering evidence-based review of the literature on IVC filter efficacy, patient-centered outcomes, guidelines for IVC filter indications, and complications were performed across a large United States (US) health care region serving more than 3.5 million members.”
While the physicians were being given the information, a computer-based IVC tracking system was set up. The use of IVC filters, how well the guidelines were followed for filter indication, as well as the rates of attempted retrieval were studied at each of the 14 facilities for 12 months before the researchers’ intervention, and for 12 months following the intervention.
The results of the study revealed IVC filter use decreased by 18.7 percent after the physicians had been educated. The rate of attempted retrieval went up from just under 40 percent to 54.0 percent.
“Physician education dramatically reduced IVC filter use across a large U.S. health care region,” the study concluded, “and represents a learning opportunity for physicians who request and place them.”
This is interesting news in the midst of lawsuits against IVC device makers over injuries and deaths allegedly linked to faulty filter designs.
Many IVC filter models such as C.R. Bard’s Recovery, G2 and G2 Express, as well as Cook Medical’s Gunther Tulip and Celect models are designed for temporary placement, intended to be removed between 29 and 54 days after implantation. However, the retrievable filters are often left in place much longer, even permanently, which may put the patient at high risk of life-threatening complications including migration, fraction and perforation. These problems may result in pulmonary embolism, organ damage and death.