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Thromb Haemost. 2013 May;109(5):897-900. doi: 10.1160/TH13-01-0006. Epub 2013 Mar 7.

Vena cava filters in hospitalised patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary embolism.

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Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Detroit Medical Center, 4707 St Antoine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


In view of the high case fatality rates of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who have pulmonary embolism (PE) we speculated that such patients might benefit from vena cava filters. To test this hypothesis we assessed the database of the Nationwide Inpatient Sample. From 1998-2009, 440,370 patients were hospitalised with PE and COPD who were not in shock or ventilator-dependent and did not receive thrombolytic therapy or pulmonary embolectomy. In-hospital all-cause case fatality rate among those with filters was 5,890 of 68,800 (8.6%) (95% confidence interval [CI] = 8.4-8.8) compared with 38,960 of 371,570 (10.5%) (95% CI = 10.4-10.6) (p<0.0001) who did not receive filters. Case fatality rate was age-dependent. Only those who were older than aged 50 years had a lower in-hospital all-cause case fatality rate with filters. Among such patients, absolute risk reduction was 2.1% (95% CI = 1.9-2.3). The greatest reduction of case fatality rate with vena cava filters was shown in patients >aged 80 years, 11,720 of 81,600 (14.4%) compared with 1,570 of 17,220 (9.1%) (p<0.0001). In conclusion, a somewhat lower in-hospital all-cause case fatality rate was shown with vena filters in stable patients with PE >aged 50 years who also had COPD. The benefit was greatest in elderly patients. The benefit in terms of a decreased case fatality rate would seem to outweigh the risks of vena cava filters in such patients.

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