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Medical News & Perspectives
March 1, 2006

Use of Emboli-Blocking Filters Increases, But Rigorous Data Are Lacking

JAMA. 2006;295(9):989-990. doi:10.1001/jama.295.9.989

Filters placed in the inferior vena cava (IVC) to trap blood clots before they reach the lungs have been used by physicians for more than 30 years. But the recent expanded use of these filters has some physicians worried.

At issue is the long-term risk of complications and an often lifelong commitment to anticoagulation therapy associated with implanting this permanent device, particularly in younger patients. Although some believe a possible solution to these concerns is the use of retrievable filters, such devices are a relatively recent development, are not extensively studied, and may themselves remain in the patient as a permanent device.