JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Acute upper extremity deep venous thrombosis: safety and effectiveness of superior vena caval filters.

Radiology 1999 January
PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and effectiveness of percutaneous filter placement in the superior vena cava for prevention of pulmonary embolism (PE) due to acute upper extremity deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in patients with contraindications to or unsuccessful anticoagulation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty-one patients with acute upper extremity DVT and contraindications to or unsuccessful anticoagulation underwent percutaneous placement of a superior vena caval filter for prevention of PE. Four types of filters were used. Follow-up chest radiographs were used to detect filter migration, dislodgment, and fracture. Placements of central venous and Swan-Ganz catheters after filter insertion were recorded. Patients were followed up clinically for evidence of superior vena cava syndrome and PE. Kaplan-Meier survival rates were determined. Follow-up was 1 day to 221 weeks.

RESULTS: No complications such as filter migration, dislodgment, or fracture occurred (median follow-up, 12 weeks). No patients developed clinical evidence of PE due to upper extremity thrombosis or superior vena cava syndrome (median follow-up, 15 weeks). Catheters were placed subsequent to filter placement in 23 patients (56%) without complication.

CONCLUSION: Percutaneous filter placement in the superior vena cava is a safe and effective method for preventing symptomatic PE due to acute upper extremity DVT in patients in whom therapeutic anticoagulation has failed or is contraindicated.

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