IVC Filter Risks and Complications

Rick Plezia March 2, 2016 Defective Medical Devices

Over 200,000 patients in the United States have had an Inferior Vena Cava Filter (IVC Filter) implant, but with its widespread use, concerns over the risks and complications of the medical device have reached a tipping point. Different types of IVC filters have been used since the late 1970s to prevent blood clots from moving into a patient’s lungs. Since 2003, surgeons have used retrievable IVC Filters for the temporary prevention of blood clots.

Common Uses of an IVC Filter

When patients undergo surgery or suffer serious injuries, their likelihood of developing a blood clot greatly increases. An increased risk of blood clots makes a patient not a good candidate to use less invasive treatments such as blood thinners. Retrievable IVC Filters allow doctors to control blood clot risks by inserting the device into the large vein that takes blood into the heart, the inferior vena cava. The device resembles a metal cage and can catch blood clots before they reach the heart or lungs and cause life-threatening complications. Doctors often use retrievable IVC Filters in car accident victims, gunshot victims, patients undergoing dialysis, and in a variety of other patients with other such complicating risk factors.

IVC Filter Risks and Complications

While retrievable IVC Filters are successful in reducing blood clots, there are several ways in which these devices can cause more serious damage:

  • Perforation – when the IVC Filter punctures a vein or another organ that can cause serious bleeding.
  • Migration – the device moves into other parts of the body including the lungs or the heart.
  • Breakage and migrations of pieces – pieces break off from the device and travel to other parts of the body.

The likelihood of experiencing complications from a retrievable IVC Filter greatly increases the longer it is left in place. In 2014, the FDA updated its safety communications on the device, stating retrievable IVC Filters should be removed between 29 and 54 days after it is inserted.

Thousands of patients have been injured or killed by IVC Filter complications. Litigation is underway to address claims that IVC Filters manufactured by Bard and other large medical device companies had serious risks that were not properly disclosed to physicians or patients. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed from IVC Filter complications, contact Richard J. Plezia & Associates to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.