Study of Managed Care Population Suggests Inferior Vena Cava Filters May Be Overused | Business Wire

LOUISVILLE, Ky.–()–Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) today announced research findings that suggest

inferior vena cava (IVC) filters may be overused in managed care

populations, and that filters may not always be removed after they are

no longer needed.


<p style="text-align: center">, compared health outcomes between

patients who received IVC filters and patients who were potentially

eligible for filters but did not receive them.

IVC filters were developed for patients who are at risk of deep vein

thrombosis (DVT) (a thrombosis is a blood clot) but are unable to

receive anticoagulants for preventive treatment, either because they

aren’t effective for these patients or because of recent surgery or

other contraindications.

During the procedure, the filter is placed in the inferior vena cava

vein, the body’s largest vein, and serves to catch clots migrating from

other parts of the body before they can get to the heart or lungs and

potentially cause a life-threatening condition called a pulmonary

embolism (PE).

Though the filters are only recommended for patients who cannot use

anticoagulants, the study found that anticoagulant use was actually

greater in patients who had undergone filter placement than in patients

who had not received filters. This finding implies that IVC filters are

frequently used in cases that do not meet the criteria of clinical

practice guidelines.

This is a cause for concern, as the study also found that patients who

received filters experienced higher rates of subsequent hospitalization

and hospital readmission than those without filters. Other publications

in the medical literature reveal that many experts believe that IVC

filters are used too often.

In general, IVC filters are designed to be removed when they are no

longer needed. Removal is important because the filters themselves can

eventually cause DVT. Complications such as filter migration are also


In agreement with previous research on removal rates, the study found

that filters were removed in only a small percentage of patients.

Removal occurred in six percent of patients who received filters because

of a history of DVT or PE, and 16 percent of those who had filters to

prevent DVT or PE following surgery.

“Given that IVC filters were associated with greater rather than

diminished use of anticoagulants, our research suggests that IVC filters

may be overused,” said Mitchel Seleznick, MD, MPH, lead author of the

study and medical director, CarePlus, a Humana affiliate. “In addition,

the low rates of filter removal indicate that patients may be at

unnecessary risk of filter-induced DVT.”

“These real-world findings confirm what previous research has reported

for patients in academic medical centers,” said Laura Happe, PharmD,

MPH, director of research and publications at Humana. “This study, which

joins a growing body of research, underscores the need for closer

compliance with clinical practice guidelines for IVC filters.”

In the United States, one

or two of every 1,000 individuals develops either DVT or PE each

year. Approximately one third of these cases will experience another

DVT or PE within 10 years.

The study evaluated a managed care population with Humana health care

coverage from 2013 to 2014. This included 435 recipients of prophylactic

IVC filters, 4,376 recipients of therapeutic IVC filters. Two

control groups, each matched to filter recipients.

In addition to Dr. Seleznick, co-authors of the study include Jamieson

Vaccaro, MA, research scientist. Karen Worley, PhD, pharmacy

research manager, both of Comprehensive Health Insights, which is a

research arm of Humana.

About Humana

Humana Inc. is committed to helping our millions of medical and

speciality members achieve their best health. Our successful history in

care delivery and health plan administration is helping us create a new

kind of integrated care with the power to improve health and well-being

and lower costs. Our efforts are leading to a better quality of life for

people with Medicare, families, individuals, military service personnel,

and communities at large.

To accomplish that, we support physicians and other health care

professionals as they work to deliver the right care in the right place

for their patients, our members. Our range of clinical capabilities,

resources and tools – such as in-home care, behavioural health, pharmacy

services, data analytics and wellness solutions – combine to produce a

simplified experience that makes health care easier to navigate and more


More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the

Investor Relations page of the company’s web site at,

including copies of:

  • Annual reports to stockholders

  • Securities and Exchange Commision filings

  • Most recent investor conference presentations

  • Quarterly earnings news releases and conference calls

  • Calendar of events

  • Corporate Governance information

Humana Corporate Communications
Alex Kepnes, 502-580-2990