Retrievable inferior vena cava filters may be safely applied in gastric bypass surgery

Rob Schuster, Judith C Hagedorn, Myriam J Curet, John M Morton
Surgical Endoscopy 2007, 21 (12): 2277-9

INTRODUCTION: Pulmonary embolus (PE) is a potentially devastating and fatal postoperative complication in morbidly obese patients. This study was undertaken to review the safety and efficacy of retrievable prophylactic inferior vena cava (IVC) filters in high-risk morbidly obese patients undergoing gastric bypass.

METHODS: Patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery and preoperative insertion of retrievable IVC filters had their records reviewed. Indications for IVC filter insertion were: history of deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or PE, long-standing sleep apnea, venous stasis disease, and/or weight > 400 pounds.

RESULTS: 24 patients underwent IVC filter placement before gastric bypass surgery. There were 10 women and 14 men with an average age of 50 +/- 6.3 years (range 39 to 59) and average body mass index (BMI) of 57 +/- 7.5 kg/m(2) (range 49 to 74). BMI greater then 50 kg/m(2) was present in 21 of 24 patients (88%). All patients had successful IVC filter placement. IVC filter retrieval postoperatively was performed in 20 of 24 patients (83%) with three left for clinical reasons and one (4%) left due to technical inability to retrieve. There was one complication directly attributable to IVC filter retrieval. There were no deaths. Five patients (21%) developed DVT or PE postoperatively. Follow-up was 16 +/- 7.6 months (range 8 to 33).

CONCLUSIONS: Prophylactic IVC filter placement and retrieval can be safely undertaken in high-risk gastric bypass patients. We recommend preoperative IVC filter placement in selected patients.

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