Hospital Variation and Patient Characteristics Associated with Vena Cava Filter Utilization

Joshua D. Brown, Jeffery C. Talbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: There is a wide variation in the use of vena cava filter (VCF). Objective: This study assessed the hospital and patient characteristics associated with VCF use in deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). Methods: Inpatient discharge data from all acute care hospitals with DVT/PE during 2008-2014 in Kentucky were used. Hierarchical logistic regression models were used to evaluate the relationships of study variables with VCF use. Results: During the study period, 81,922 discharges for DVT/PE were observed and 10.5% of these received a VCF. This included 12,083 cases of PE+DVT, 18,571 cases of PE only, and 51,268 cases of DVT only. VCF use among these groups was 22.7%, 6.0%, and 7.8%, respectively. In adjusted analyses, VCF use was associated with increasing age, indicating that those over age 65 were twice as likely to receive a filter compared with the reference (21-25 y old) group. Significant comorbidities associated with VCF use included cancer, liver disease, cerebrovascular disease, atrial fibrillation, anemia, and concurrent bleeding. Lower extremity, proximal DVTs, and patients receiving thrombolytic therapy or embolectomy, those having surgery, and those who were unstable or had trauma, were also more likely to receive a filter. Among cancer types, brain and metastatic tumors were significantly associated with VCF use. Between-hospital variation after controlling for all covariates was 7.1%. Conclusions: There was high variation in the use of VCFs. Several high-risk subgroups were more likely to use VCFs including older adults and those with cancer and concurrent bleeding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-36
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • deep vein thrombosis
  • pulmonary embolism
  • vena cava filters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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