Interventional Radiology - Technical Note

A warning for warming catheters: interventional radiology’s role


  • Heather K. Moriarty
  • Shane O’Donovan
  • Harry Yip
  • Warren Clements
  • Jim Koukounaras
  • Gerard S. Goh

Received Date: 08.08.2019 Accepted Date: 11.10.2019 Diagn Interv Radiol 2020;26(3):245-248

Concerns have been raised in the literature, regarding the risk of venous thromboembolic events associated with the use of thermoregulatory catheters. Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are commonly used to prevent venous thromboembolic events. We demonstrate the usefulness of IVC filter placement prior to the removal of thermoregulatory warming catheters. The management of thermoregulatory warming catheter associated venous thromboembolism is outlined through a retrospective case series of three patients. In one case IVC thrombus was incidentally detected at ultrasonography one-week post removal. The second case describes the occurrence of pulseless electrical activity arrest secondary to massive pulmonary embolism immediately post removal of the thermoregulatory catheter, and subsequent interventional radiology management including pulmonary thrombectomy and caval filter placement. The third case is of a patient in whom the removal of the warming catheter was performed in the angiography suite, with placement of IVC filter prior to removal. Venography displayed a large thrombus burden within the IVC filter. There is limited data in the literature regarding the use of IVC filters as prophylaxis in patients with thermoregulatory catheters, particularly warming catheters. We advocate the placement of an IVC filter prior to the removal of warming catheters. We raise awareness regarding the potential risks of venous thromboembolism in this population and the key role interventional radiology has in the management of these patients.