The purpose of this report is to examine the outcomes for patients with an underlying diagnosis of malignancy who have had Greenfield vena caval filters placed for protection from pulmonary embolism, and to identify areas requiring further study. This was a retrospective review of data obtained from the Greenfield filter registry and the Univeristy of Michigan Tumor Registry for 166 patients treated at the University of Michigan Medical Center between January 1988 and June 1994. The 84 men and 82 women (mean age 57.8 years) had a mean survival time of 10 (range 1–68) months. This differs significantly from patients in the filter registry who do not have malignancy (P<0.0001). Some 51% experienced recurrence of their malignancy at a mean of 20 months; this timing corresponds to development of new or recurrent thrombembolism and filter placement. Distant metastases were present in 72% of patients at the time of filter placement. In conclusion, as anticipated, filter patients with malignancy have a significantly shorter survival time than those with other concurrent diseases. A temporal association between the progression of the malignancy and the occurrence of thromboembolism is observed in this population and requires further study. Future studies regarding the use of vena caval filters in these patients and the role of diagnostic screening for deep venous thrombosis and occult recurrence of malignancy should focus on efficacy, safety, cost and patient quality of life rather than on survival.
- Greenfield filter