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J Trauma. 1996 Aug;41(2):231-6; discussion 236-7.

Prophylactic Greenfield filters: acute complications and long-term follow-up.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis, USA.


The efficacy of prophylactic vena caval filters (VCF) in reducing morbidity and mortality from pulmonary embolism (PE) in high-risk trauma patients has been shown, but minimal follow-up data is currently available. VCFs were prophylactically placed in 110 patients between August 1991 and June 1995. There was an early VCF complication rate of 7%. Twenty-two patients died; the remaining 88 patients formed the basis for the follow-up study. Forty-five patients were located and interviewed by phone, and 30 of these patients (34%) returned for evaluation. The mean follow-up time was 18 months (range, 4-42 months). There was no incidence of caval thrombosis on follow-up. Eleven patients had physical findings, and duplex evidence consistent with postphlebitic syndrome. An additional three patients had evidence of old deep venous thrombosis (DVT) by duplex, but no significant symptomatology. VCF are effective in preventing PE related deaths and have few major complications. The long-term morbidity associated with posttraumatic venous thrombosis is significant. This morbidity is related not to PE or VCF, but to the underlying DVT. Improved strategies against DVT are necessary.

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