The inferior vena cava filter (IVC filter) is an umbrella-shaped medical device with legs intended to prevent blood clots from migrating from the lower ranges of the body to the heart or lungs. IVC filters are inserted into the largest vein in the body, the inferior vena cava, where the legs of the device attach themselves into the walls of the inferior vena cava via small hooks on the end of each leg. The umbrella portion of the device then “catches” any blood clot and prevents it from traveling to the heart or lungs.
Who Receives IVC Filters?
IVC filters are designed for patients who are unable to take blood thinners to reduce the threat of blood clots. This includes patients who have sustained extreme trauma like puncture wounds or patients who have undergone surgery.
What Are Side Effects of Receiving an IVC Filter?
Some of the most common side effects of an IVC filter include bleeding, fever or chills, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. If you experience one or more of these symptoms after having an IVC filter implanted, immediately seek medical attention.
What Happens When An IVC Filter Fractures?
Some IVC filters are now known to have an increased risk of fracturing while in the body. As an IVC filter remains in the body, it can be slowly worn down, causing the device to fracture. IVC filter fracture can be life threatening for the patient if the fractured pieces travel through the body.
What Is An IVC Filter Embolization?
When an IVC filter fractures, the broken pieces can sometimes travel through the blood stream, called embolization, and puncture internal organs like the heart or lungs. When this occurs, it can cause permanent damage and removal of the fractured pieces may be impossible.
Can An IVC Filter Move Throughout the Body?
While IVC filters are intended to be stationary inside the body, they can sometimes become detached and migrate through the body. The device’s migration can cause it to get attached to other organs and it may not be possible to remove once this occurs.
Do IVC Filters Damage the Inferior Vena Cava Walls?
IVC filters are designed to only attach themselves to the outer layers of the inferior vena cava wall; however, some IVC filters completely puncture the inferior vena cava wall, which can cause internal bleeding in addition to other serious side effects.
What Are Complications That Can Occur After An IVC Filter Fails?
When an IVC filter fails, it can cause permanent and life threatening injuries. A failed IVC filter can cause internal bleeding, chronic chest pain, hemorrhaging, lacerations in the heart, deep vein thrombosis, permanent damage to critical organs, and even death. For many patients who suffer from a failed IVC filter, removal of the device requires open surgery, or may not be possible at all.
What Has The FDA Said About the Safety of IVC Filters?
In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported that between 2005 and 2010, they received over 900 reports of device failure from IVC filters. The FDA recommended removing the device immediately after the threat of blood clots had passed. In 2014, the FDA updated their initial safety statement from 2010 to advise doctors to remove IVC filters between 29 and 54 days after insertion. The FDA also warned that the risks of device failure greatly increased the longer the IVC filter remained in the body.
Are There Any Alternatives To IVC Filters?
Some patients might be prescribed anticoagulants like Pradaxa and Xarelto that work to prevent the blood from clotting, thereby reducing the risk of blood clots traveling into the heart and lungs. However, these medications have been shown to cause their own set of complications.
IVC Filter Lawyers
If you or someone you know suffered serious complications or death after the implantation of an IVC filter, you may be eligible to receive compensation. Let the experienced medical device litigation attorneys at Raizner Slania evaluate your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve in an IVC filter lawsuit. Contact Raizner Slania today for a free and confidential consultation.