Society for Vascular Surgery

View all recommendations from this society

Released January 29, 2015

Don’t use IVC filters for primary prevention of pulmonary emboli in the absence of either a contraindication to anticoagulation or recurrent venous thromboembolic event while on therapeutic anticoagulation.

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


Kaufman JA, Barnes GD, Chaer RA, et al. Society of Interventional Radiology Clinical Practice Guideline for Inferior Vena Cava Filters in the Treatment of Patients with Venous Thromboembolic Disease: Developed in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, American Heart Association, Society for Vascular Surgery, and Society for Vascular Medicine. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2020;31(10):1529-1544. doi:10.1016/j.jvir.2020.06.014

Expert Panel on Interventional Radiology:, Minocha J, Smith AM, et al. ACR Appropriateness Criteria® Radiologic Management of Venous Thromboembolism-Inferior Vena Cava Filters. J Am Coll Radiol. 2019;16(5S):S214-S226. doi:10.1016/j.jacr.2019.02.010

Li X, Haddadin I, McLennan G, et al. Inferior vena cava filter – comprehensive overview of current indications, techniques, complications and retrieval rates. Vasa. 2020;49(6):449-462. doi:10.1024/0301-1526/a000887Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg (2021) 61, 9e82

Kakkos SK, Gohel M, Baekgaard N, et al. Editor’s Choice – European Society for Vascular Surgery (ESVS) 2021 Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Management of Venous Thrombosis. Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2021;61(1):9-82. doi:10.1016/j.ejvs.2020.09.023

Stevens SM, Woller SC, Baumann Kreuziger L, et al. Executive Summary: Antithrombotic Therapy for VTE Disease: Second Update of the CHEST Guideline and Expert Panel Report. Chest. 2021;160(6):2247-2259. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2021.07.056