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Urol Oncol. 2013 Jul;31(5):517-21. doi: 10.1016/j.urolonc.2011.03.006. Epub 2011 Apr 21.

The perioperative management of an inferior vena caval tumor thrombus in patients with renal cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Kansas, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA. dwoodruff@kumc.edu



Inferior vena caval tumor thrombus (IVC-TT) occurs in 10% of patients diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The perioperative management of these patients remains challenging. Despite multiple publications outlining surgical approaches and outcomes there have been few studies detailing the best peri-operative management of patients with IVC-TT. Our goal was to define the optimal management of patients with RCC and IVC-TT.


A review of all published literature regarding the management of RCC with IVC-TT was performed utilizing Pub Med and the Cochrane Database. Reviews were also made of all relevant literature regarding the need for cardiopulmonary bypass and recommendations regarding thrombus in any location in patients with malignancy. Specific items critically examined included: need for preoperative heart catheterization, need for anticoagulation and type of anticoagulation, need for additional studies such as lower extremity duplex or venogram, and indications for vena caval filter placement. The results were then presented to a multidisciplinary group made up of experts in the fields of Urology, Hematology, Oncology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Interventional Radiology, and Pulmonary/Critical Care. Based on the available literature a best practice guidelines regarding the management of RCC with IVC-TT was established at our institution.


Our institutional recommendations include (1) preoperative cardiac catheterization in all patients believed to require cardiopulmonary bypass for removal of the thrombus but only cardiac clearance for those who bypass is unlikely, (2) preoperative anticoagulation using a low molecular weight heparin such as enoxaparin unless contraindicated due to bleeding from the tumor or other contraindication, (3) avoidance of vena caval filters whenever possible is recommended due the potential for caval thrombosis and the difficulties they present during surgical resection.


This study identified the available literature on the management of IVC-TT in association with RCC and was carefully reviewed by a multidisciplinary team. As a result, we have established a set of practice guidelines at our institution to help optimally manage patients with renal cell carcinoma and an inferior venal caval thrombus.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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