Excimer laser-assisted removal of embedded inferior vena cava filters a single-center prospective study

William T. Kuo, Justin I. Odegaard, Jarrett K. Rosenberg, Lawrence V. Hofmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background-Although chronically implanted inferior vena cava filters may result in filter-related morbidity, there is currently no routine option for removing such filters when they become firmly embedded along the vena cava endothelium. Methods and Results-During a 3-year period, 100 consecutive patients were prospectively enrolled in a single-center study. There were 42 men and 58 women (mean age, 46 years; limits, 18-76 years). Retrieval indications included filterrelated acute inferior vena cava thrombosis, chronic inferior vena cava occlusion, and pain from retroperitoneal or bowel penetration. Filter retrieval was also performed to prevent risks from prolonged implantation and to potentially eliminate the need for lifelong anticoagulation. After standard methods failed, photothermal tissue ablation was attempted with a laser sheath powered by a 308-nm xenon chloride excimer laser. Applied forces were recorded with a digital tension meter before and during laser activation. Laser-assisted retrieval was successful in 98.0% (95% confidence interval [CI], 93.0%-99.8%) with mean implantation of 855 days (limits, 37-6663 days; >18 years). The following filter types were encountered in this study: Günther-Tulip (n=34), Celect (n=12), Option (n=17), Optease (n=20, 1 failure), TrapEase (n=6, 1 failure), Simon-Nitinol (n=1), 12F Stainless Steel Greenfield (n=4), and Titanium Greenfield (n=6). The average force during failed standard retrievals was 7.2 versus 4.6 pounds during laser-assisted retrievals (P<0.0001). The major complication rate was 3.0% (95% CI, 0.6%-8.5%), the minor complication rate was 7.0% (95% CI, 0.3%-13.9%), and there were 4 adverse events (2 coagulopathic hemorrhages, 1 renal infarction, and 1 cholecystitis; 4.0%; 95% CI, 1.1%-9.9%) at mean follow-up of 500 days (limits, 84-1079 days). Scar tissue ablation was histologically confirmed in 96.0% (95% CI, 89.9%-98.9%). Successful retrieval allowed cessation of anticoagulation in 30 of 30 (100%) patients and alleviated morbidity in 23 of 24 patients (96%). Conclusions-Excimer laser-assisted removal is effective in removing embedded inferior vena cava filters refractory to standard retrieval and high force. This method can be safely used to prevent and alleviate filter-related morbidity. Clinical Trial Registration-URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01158482. (Circ Cardiovasc Interv. 2013;6:560-566.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)560-566
Number of pages7
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Interventions
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • Angiography
  • Catheters
  • Lasers
  • Thrombosis
  • Vena cava filters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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