What To Do If You Have an IVC Filter

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filters are used in people recovering from accidents or surgery to catch blood clots before they reach the lungs. The small, cage-like device is inserted into the largest vein that takes blood to the heart and lungs. While doctors use IVC filters with the best intentions, the metal device can cause serious issues like perforating veins and organs, migrating from its location, and breaking.

Who Needs an IVC Filter?

IVC filters are inserted into people who have been in a serious accident or have had major surgery and are thus at a greater risk for blood clots during recovery. They’re used in patients who can’t take blood thinners, like people who have just undergone a major surgery and are at risk for uncontrolled bleeding. The filters are inserted via a catheter into the inferior vena cava vein. Retrievable devices are removed the same way.

There are two types of IVC filters: permanent and retrievable. Retrievable filters are used for short-term protection, for example, when someone is recovering from surgery. Retrievable IVC filters are intended to be removed when the threat of a pulmonary embolism has passed.

Unfortunately, retrievable filters are the type that is most associated with risks. After concern that retrievable devices were being left in patients too long, the FDA updated their recommendations in 2014 that the device is removed between the 29th and 54th day after implantation in patients in which the threat of pulmonary embolism has subsided.

Complications from IVC Filters

In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration* announced a safety alert after receiving 921 reports involving complications with IVC filters between 2005 and . Thirty-five percent of the adverse events reported involved device migration. Other complications included damage to veins, failure to stop blood clots and breakage.

If you have an IVC filter, make sure you talk to your doctor about what type you have received. Discuss the benefits and risks, and the FDA recommendation for removing retrievable devices after 54 days.

If you or someone you love has been harmed by an IVC filter, you could qualify for compensation. Talk to an Arkansas IVC filter lawyer to find out your legal options.

 

*http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm221676.htm

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