A study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery found that the use of IVC filters increased by 350 percent between January 1998 and January 2008, primarily due to the release of statements in favor of IVC filter use. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the impact of societal guidelines on vena cava filter use at a national level, taking into consideration the marketing trends.
After the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma released a favorable consensus in July 2002, IVC filter use jumped by 138 percent. When the Society of Interventional Radiology did the same in March 2006, the filter use increased again by 122 percent. It wasn’t until the American College of Chest Physicians published guidelines discouraging IVC filter use in 2012 that utilization decreased, but only by 16 percent.
“Prophylactic indications are still controversial. However, the utilization of [vena cava filters] during the past 15 years may have been affected by societal recommendations and reimbursement rates,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers also added, “There is a correlation between the trends of [vena cava filter] insertion over time and the stances of societal guidelines in relation to [vena cava filters]. We believe that more uniform consensus statements from multiple societies, along with the use of level I evidence, may be required to lead to a definitive change in practice.”
The purpose of an IVC filter is to catch blood clots, intercepting them before they can reach the heart or lungs, resulting in pulmonary embolism. They are used often in patients that cannot tolerate anticoagulation medication.
The cage-like device, however, has been linked to serious injuries and multiple deaths because of their tendency to tilt, migrate, perforate the vein and other organs, and/or fracture, resulting in pin-like metal shards working its way through the body.
IVC device manufacturers such as C.R. Bard, Cordis (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), Rex Medical and Cook Medical have been facing hundreds of lawsuits alleging injuries and deaths linked to IVC filters.
Source: Journal of Vascular Surgery