The prophylactic use of inferior vena cava filters among patients with major trauma is researched by several controlled studies with contradicting results. We performed an updated meta-analysis with trial sequential analysis of controlled studies probing the prophylactic use of inferior cava filters on the development of symptomatic and fatal pulmonary embolism (PE) in patients with major trauma.
A systematic electronic search across PubMed, Cochrane and DARE databases was executed from the debut of the databases up to September 15, 2019 for pertinent articles. The inclusion criteria being, controlled trials (randomized/ observational) investigating the prophylactic inferior vena cava filter placement among patients with major trauma juxtaposed to controls and reporting PE. Major trauma was defined as an injury severity score (ISS) > 15 or any trauma delaying the initiation of pharmacological venous thromboembolic [VTE] prophylaxis.
A total of ten studies were included in the final analysis, of which two were randomized control trials. The use of prophylactic inferior vena cava filters was associated with a reduced risk of symptomatic PE among subjects with major trauma, RR: 0.27, CI 0.12-0.58, P value < 0.05, I = 0%, χ p-value = 0.85, the evidence was further reinforced by a trial sequential analysis. However, the use of inferior vena cava filters was not associated with a decreased risk of fatal PE among subjects with major trauma, RR: 0.29, CI 0.08-1.10, P value = 0.07, I = 0%, χ p-value = 0.73.
The use of inferior vena cava filters curtailed the risk of symptomatic PE, the result further strengthened by trial sequential analysis. However, the present evidence fails to delineate a beneficial role of prophylactic inferior vena cava filter placement in reducing fatal PE among patients with major trauma. The possibility of Type II error cannot be excluded from this estimate.