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Rev Col Bras Cir. 2012;39(1):16-21.

Vena cava filters: a decade of experience in a level I trauma center.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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  • 1Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Brasília, DF, Brazil.



To evaluate the data on the use of vena cava filter in the Division of Trauma, UCSD Medical Center - San Diego, CA / USA.


A descriptive study was conducted at the Division of Trauma to evaluate the cumulated experience and the therapeutic approach in patients attended by the staff of the Division of Trauma and submitted to placement of a vena cava filter as a method of prevention or treatment of Pulmonary Thromboembolism (PTE) from January 1999 to December 2008.


The study comprised 512 patients, mostly males (73%). As to the cause, automobile accident injuries predominated, followed by injuries caused by falls. The male / female ratio was 3:1. The most affected age group was the one between 21 to 40 years, representing 36% of patients. The percentage of prophylactic vena cava filters was 82%, whilst 18% had treatment purposes. Head trauma was the main cause for the indication of prophylactic filters followed by spinal cord trauma. The rate of pos-filter deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was 11%.


In the presence of contraindications to the use of anticoagulants in patients who suffered severe trauma, the inferior vena cava filters have proven to be an effective and safe option. However, one should apply rigorous clinical judgment to all indications, even after the advent of retrievable filters.

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