PHLEGMASIA COMPLICATING PROPHYLACTIC PERCUTANEOUS INFERIOR VENA-CAVAL INTERRUPTION - A WORD OF CAUTION 7th Annual Meeting of the American-Venous-Forum Harris, E. J., Kinney, E. V., Harris, E. J., Olcott, C., Zarins, C. K. MOSBY-YEAR BOOK INC. 1995: 606–11


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of thrombotic complications in patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) who were treated with percutaneous inferior vena caval interruption in place of anticoagulation.A retrospective review of all percutaneously placed inferior vena cava filters for 1 year, August 1993 through July 1994, was performed.Thirty-three percutaneous inferior vena cava filters were placed in 32 patients. The underlying disease was pulmonary embolism in 15 (47%) and DVT in 17 (53%) patients. Of patients with pulmonary embolism, 11 had a documented DVT, and four were not evaluated for DVT. There were 14 men and 18 women, with a mean age of 63.5 years (range 24 to 93 years). Indications for vena caval interruption were recurrent pulmonary embolism with therapeutic anticoagulation (n = 2 [6%]), prophylactic insertion with documented pulmonary embolism and therapeutic anticoagulation (n = 8 [25%]), documented pulmonary embolism and absolute contraindication to anticoagulation (n = 5 [16%]), documented DVT and absolute contraindication to anticoagulation (n = 2 [6%]), prophylactic insertion with documented DVT and therapeutic anticoagulation (n = 5 [16%]), and documented DVT with relative contraindication to anticoagulation (n = 10 [31%]). Of the 32 patients with inferior vena cava filters, 17 were not given anticoagulants (7 absolute contraindications, 10 relative contraindications), and 15 were given anticoagulants. Insertion of a percutaneous inferior vena cava filter in patients who were not given anticoagulants was followed by the development of phlegmasia cerulea dolens in four patients (24%), which was bilateral in two patients; one patient eventually died. No patients treated with inferior vena cava filter and anticoagulation had development of phlegmasia.Percutaneous inferior vena caval interruption effectively prevents pulmonary embolism in patients with DVT but does not impact the underlying thrombotic process and in fact may contribute to progressive thrombosis in patients who are not given anticoagulants. Anticoagulation with intravenous heparin in safe and effective therapy for DVT in most patients. We believe that percutaneous insertion of vena cava filters should not replace anticoagulation in routine proximal DVT, and those patients who require an inferior vena cava filter for failure of anticoagulation should continue to receive heparin to treat the primary thrombotic process. We caution that relative contraindications to anticoagulation should be carefully scrutinized before recommending vena cava interruption as a primary therapy for DVT.

View details for Web of Science ID A1995TF30600016

View details for PubMedID 7494363