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J Am Coll Surg. 1999 Sep;189(3):314-20.

Increased use of prophylactic vena cava filters in trauma patients failed to decrease overall incidence of pulmonary embolism.

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  • 1Section of Trauma/Critical Care, University of California, Davis, Medical Center, Sacramento 95817-2214, USA.



Recent studies have reported that placement of vena cava filters (VCFs) early after injury may decrease the incidence of pulmonary embolism (PE) in high-risk trauma patients.


This was a retrospective review of all trauma patients with placement of VCFs admitted to a single level-1 trauma center between 1989 and 1997. Two cohorts corresponding to years of high or low prophylactic VCF use (PVCF) were compared.


Records were reviewed for 299 trauma patients identified as having had placement of a VCE Two hundred forty-eight filters were placed before the diagnosis of PE. During years of low PVCF use, the overall PE incidence was 0.31%; during years of high PVCF use, the incidence of PE was higher at 0.48% (p = 0.045, chi-square).


Increased use of PVCFs failed to decrease the overall rate of PE in our trauma patient population.

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