Society for Vascular Surgery

View all recommendations from this society

Released January 29, 2015

Don’t use IVC filters as primary prevention of pulmonary emboli in the absence of an extremity clot or prior pulmonary embolus.

The inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is placed during a minimally invasive procedure which has low, but not zero, risk. Long-term placement of an IVC filter can lead to other complications such as organ injury or vessel clotting. IVC filters should not be used as primary form of prophylaxis of pulmonary embolus if no extremity clot exists, even in trauma and neurosurgery patients who cannot receive anticoagulants. Other means, especially leg compression devices, can be helpful in preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

An IVC filter may be appropriate in cases with high-risk features such as acute DVT, prior DVT, history of prior pulmonary embolus or other high-risk features.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) formed a task force to gather initial recommendations for a list of procedures that should not be performed, performed rarely or performed only under certain circumstances. These draft recommendations were then sent to the Public and Professional Outreach Committee, which refined them before presenting them to its reporting council, the Clinical Practice Council. The Council reviewed the citations and ensured all recommendations aligned with SVS Clinical Practice Guidelines before submitting them to the Executive Committee of the SVS Board of Directors for approval. You can review the society’s conflict of interest and disclosure policy at


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