The use of intravascular ultrasound imaging to improve use of inferior vena cava filters in a high-risk bariatric population

Clark M Kardys, Michael C Stoner, Mark L Manwaring, William M Bogey, Frank M Parker, Steve Powell
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2007, 46 (6): 1248-52

OBJECTIVE: Pulmonary embolism is the leading cause of death after gastric bypass procedures for obesity, approximating 0.5% to 4%. All bariatric patients, but especially the super-obese, which have a body mass index (BMI) >50 kg/m(2), are at significant risk for postoperative venous thromboembolism (VTE). Visualization and weight limitations of fluoroscopy tables exclude most bariatric and all super-obese patients from inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement using fluoroscopy. Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)-guided IVC filter placement is the only modality that allows these high-risk patients to have an IVC filter placed.

METHODS: Hospital and outpatient records of the 494 patients who underwent gastric bypass procedures from January 1, 2004, to May 31, 2006, were reviewed. All patients who had concurrent IVC filter placement with the use of IVUS guidance were selected. Comorbidities, outcomes, and complications were recorded.

RESULTS: We identified 27 patients with mean BMI of 70 +/- 3 kg/m(2); of these, 25 were super-obese (BMI >50 kg/m(2)). Procedures included five laparoscopic and 22 open gastric bypass operations. All patients underwent concurrent IVC filter placement using IVUS guidance. In addition to super-obesity, indications for IVC filter placement included history of VTE (n = 4), known hypercoagulable state (n = 2), and profound immobility (n = 21). Mean follow up was 293 +/- 40 days. Technical success rate was 96.3%. There were no catheter site complications. In one surviving patient, a nonfatal pulmonary embolism was detected by computed tomography 2 months postoperatively. Two patients died, and autopsy excluded VTE as the cause of death in both.

CONCLUSION: This study suggests efficacy of IVUS-guided IVC filter placement in preventing mortality from pulmonary embolism in high-risk bariatric patients, including the super-obese. IVUS-guided IVC filter placement can be safely performed with an excellent success rate in all bariatric patients, including the super-obese, who otherwise would not be candidates for IVC filter placement due to the limitations imposed by their large body habitus.

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