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Why IVC Filters Are Used

Rick Plezia December 7, 2015 Defective Medical Devices

Inferior Vena Cava Filters (IVC Filters) are special umbrella-shaped devices that are inserted into the main vein in the body, in order to block blood clots and prevent them from moving from the leg to the lungs, which can result in a potentially life-threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism. That was actually the initial purpose for these devices.

Hospital Errors Lawyer HoustonTheir use has expanded in recent years, and IVC Filters are also used by doctors as a treatment option for venous diseases, for those patients who have a blood clot in a vein, but who are not able to be given anticoagulant, or blood-thinning, medications like heparin, or even for those patients who are taking such medications, but continue to develop potentially dangerous blood clots. A common use for IVC Filters is to prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), which occurs usually after surgery or a period of immobility, although other factors can also cause it. In most cases, DVT stays in the area of the leg, but the longer it is present, the greater the potential for a pulmonary embolism.

The IVC Filter actually spans the diameter of the inferior vena cava for the purpose of mechanically trapping blood clots. They do not have anticoagulant effects, nor do they prevent DVT occurrence; they are simply designed to prevent the clot from traveling through the IVC. Among the most likely patients to be implanted with an IVC Filter are victims of trauma who are at risk for developing DVT, or recent surgery patients with a history of blood clots. In recent years, IVC Filters have been used as a preventive measure for those patients for whom even a minor pulmonary embolism could be deadly.

While placing IVC Filters is considered to be a fairly safe procedure that usually takes a qualified vascular surgeon about 20-30 minutes, with a recovery time of a couple of hours, in recent years there have been numerous reports of IVC Filters failing, with the device sometimes breaking apart, with pieces migrating to the heart or lungs, or even shifting to other parts of the body, including some areas that can’t be reached through surgery. This increases the potential for serious injury and, in some cases, death.

Since 2005, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 1,000 adverse event reports linked directly to IVC filters, including more than 300 incidents in which the IVC Filter migrated and nearly 150 cases in which portions of the IVC came apart and those pieces migrated. As a result, there have been a number of reports of IVC perforation, as well as infections, hematoma or nerve injury. Some patients have also suffered severe pain and problems with the lungs and heart.

Texas Lawyers For IVC Filters Handling Cases Nationally

If you or a loved one have been fitted with an IVC Filter and you have any of the warning signs that there is a problem, including severe chest pain, hemorrhage, serious anxiety, breathing problems, or perforation of tissue organs or blood vessels, see your doctor immediately, and then contact the IVC Filter Litigation Attorneys at Richard J. Plezia & Associates, so that we can evaluate your situation and find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your IVC filter injuries. We have the experience with these types of cases, and we can make those responsible accountable.