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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2009 Jan;20(1):92-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jvir.2008.10.007. Epub 2008 Nov 21.

Techniques used for difficult retrievals of the Günther Tulip inferior vena cava filter: experience in 32 patients.

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Department of Radiology, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



To retrospectively review experience with difficult retrievals of Günther Tulip filters (GTFs) in which various techniques were used.


From December 2004 to December 2006, 32 patients were referred to a single radiology department for GTF retrieval (25 women and seven men; mean age, 40 years; range, 21-60 y). All patients were evaluated, and 22 of these patients had undergone unsuccessful filter retrieval attempts elsewhere. In the remaining patients, significant tilt of the filter (n = 8) or difficult internal jugular vein access (n = 2) discouraged retrieval attempts. There were a total of 38 filters. Twenty-five patients had a filter in the infrarenal inferior vena cava (IVC). Among the remaining seven patients, six had bilateral iliac filters and one had a left iliac filter. Retrievals were performed via conventional technique-ie, by snaring the hook of the filter without additional maneuvers-or other techniques.


Thirty-seven of 38 filters were successfully removed, for a success rate of 97%. Successful retrievals were performed with conventional (n = 4), catheter twist (n = 3), modified snare (n = 15), loop snare (n = 14), and balloon dilation (n = 1) techniques. The average dwell time for filters successfully removed was 58 days (range, 22-258 d). One failure occurred in a patient who had undergone unsuccessful retrieval previously. The hook of the filter and a displaced secondary strut, which had migrated superiorly, were incorporated into the IVC wall in this case.


Additional maneuvers were useful in these difficult retrievals of GTFs that might not otherwise be retrievable with the conventional method.

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