Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are utilized to prevent pulmonary embolism (PE) in patients who have or are at risk for developing blood clots in the legs or pelvis. If a blood clot moves to the lungs, the results can be deadly. When an IVC filter performs properly, it can be a lifesaving device. Retrievable IVC filters should be removed when the risk of PE has passed. A faulty IVC filter can cause serious or fatal complications.
What is an IVC Filter?
An IVC filter is a small cone-shaped device that looks like a metal cage. It’s placed in the large vein in the abdomen that returns blood to the heart from the lower body. This vein known as the inferior vena cava, Is used to trap blood clots and prevent them from moving to the lungs and heart In people with a condition known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
If these clots, or massive portions of these break off and go to the lungs or heart, they can result in severe complications or death.
Who Needs an IVC Filter?
An IVC filter is not the ideal solution for everyone with DVT or at risk for the condition. They’re used in patients who cannot take anticoagulant medication and in most cases where the drugs haven’t been effective.
Retrievable IVC filters are usually used when there’s a temporary risk of DVT, because of an unintentional injury, surgery or other medical treatments.
- Car accidents
- Spinal injuries
- Gunshot wounds
- Emergency surgery
- Elective surgery
- Kidney dialysis
- Cancer treatment
IVC Filter Complications
IVC filter complications can include:
- Device migration
- Device fracture
- Embolism – device or pieces of the device moving to the heart or lungs
- Peroration of the vein in which the filter was placed
- Perforation of adjacent organs
- Difficulty removing the filter
Long-term risks of IVC filter include:
- Occlusion of the IVC
IVC filter complications can be fatal.
In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a security communication recommending that removal of retrievable IVC filters should be considered as soon as the risk of PE has passed. According to the FDA, mathematical models suggest that if the danger of PE has passed the best time to remove an IVC filter is between 29 and 54 days after it was implanted.
If you have concerns or questions about IVC Filters or believe you have been harmed, call us toll-free at 1-800-HURT-NOW or email us. We will help you find answers to your questions and we can help you find an attorney who represents injured victims.