Vena Cava Filter Use in Trauma and Rates of Pulmonary Embolism, 2003-2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alan Cook, MD, FACS
Director, Trauma Research Program
Chandler Regional Medical Center
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery
University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix
Chandler, AZ 85224 and
Frederick B. Rogers MD, MS, FACS
Trauma Surgeon
Lancaster General Health/Penn Medicine
Adjunct Professor of Surgery University of Pennsylvania College of Medicine
Department of Surgery

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The morbidity and mortality from pulmonary emboli (PE) are considerable. They range in severity from a problem amenable to outpatient medical management to fatal. Trauma patients are often ineligible for chemoprophylaxis due to the risk for life-threatening bleeding.

Yet traumatic injury can increase a person’s likelihood of having a pulmonary embolus via an array of mechanical and humoral pathways. The vena cava filter (VCF) offered the possibility of PE prophylaxis for patients otherwise vulnerable to PE risk. Use of VCF grew and the rate of use increased even more after the introduction of the retrievable VCF. Our study sought to determine if any temporal variation in VCF use has occurred and investigate if an contemporaneous change in the diagnosis of PE has taken place.

We used three databases to allow a telescoping window of observation from a single state, Pennsylvania (PTOS), to a convenience of sample of trauma centers across the country (NTDB), and finally a national, population-based sample of all hospital discharges in the US (NIS).

A temporal trend was observed in all three datasets with differing magnitudes and time points of change. The variation of vena cava filter use was most pronounced in the PTOS and least dramatic in the NIS, The rate of PE was essentially unchanged during the same period.

Continue reading