IVC Filters: What You Should Know

October 9, 2015 | Crandall & Pera Law
IVC Filters: What You Should Know

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An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is designed to stop a blood clot from traveling to the lungs. It is implanted into the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the body. The filters are designed and intended to be used in patients who are unable to take blood thinners. IVC filters come in two types; permanent and retrievable.

Patients who experience clotting issues while taking blood thinners are good candidates for permanent implantation, which causes fewer problems. However, retrievable IVC filters are commonly used in situations where blood thinners are ill-advised, such as after accident trauma, bleeding, or surgery.

It is this group that is at the highest risk. The retrievable IVC filters are prone to a host of problems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a safety alert in 2010, and another in 2014, detailing the types of issues regarding retrievable IVC filters. These include:

  • Device migration. The filters dislodge from the implantation site and travel through the body. The filter is then unable to perform as indicated and is likely to cause other problems.

  • Filter perforation. The filter stays in place but, due to improper placement or a change in conditions, punctures the side of the vein. This results in internal bleeding and can be fatal.

  • Filter fracture. The filter breaks apart in place, allowing clots to pass through in the heart or lungs, causing potentially fatal embolisms.

  • Detached device components. Parts of the filters break free and circulate through the bloodstream. This can be particularly dangerous because there are now multiple pieces that can puncture different parts of the body, leading to severe internal bleeding, pulmonary embolisms, and death.

The FDA is aware of the problem and has issued two major safety communications in regards to the device. The latest report said, “The FDA recommends that implanting physicians and clinicians responsible for the ongoing care of patients with retrievable IVC filters consider removing the filter as soon as protection from pulmonary embolism is no longer needed.”

If you or a loved one has been implantable with a retrievable IVC filter, you should speak with a medical professional immediately to determine the best way to proceed. If you or someone you know has been injured because of a defective medical device, you may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced defective medical device attorneys in Ohio and Kentucky can help you through a confusing and painful time. Contact Crandall & Pera Law today for a free consultation.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]