Since the early 1900s, surgical interruption of the inferior vena cava (IVC) has been utilized in the management of venous thromboembolism (VTE). With the advent of newer-generation percutaneous devices in the late 1970s, their use and indications have expanded. The literature to support their efficacy, however, is limited to several case series and a single randomized controlled trial. Despite this, some have advocated the use of IVC filters as primary treatment of VTE in certain patient populations. In addition, there has been a large amount of interest in their use as prophylaxis against pulmonary embolism (PE) in high-risk patients. In the past 10 years, we have also seen the development and initial use of temporary devices, although their role in the management of this disease is even less certain. This article will review the recent literature on efficacy, complications, and indications for the use of IVC filters in the prevention and treatment of PE.