An inferior vena cava filter (IVC filter) is commonly used to prevent the occurrence of pulmonary emboli in patients who develop deep vein thrombosis. As a result of using an IVC filter, some patients have allegedly experienced serious complications despite manufacturers’ claims that the devices are safe.
It is responsible for carrying de-oxygenated blood from the hips, thighs, legs, ankles, and feet to the right atrium of the heart and then to the lungs.
An IVC filter is a small, cone-shaped device that is implanted in the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the body responsible for carrying de-oxygenated blood from the hips, thighs, legs, ankles, and feet to the right atrium of the heart and then to the lungs. IVC filters capture blood clots that have broken loose in the deep veins in the legs before the clot reaches the heart and lungs, preventing an embolism from potentially blocking blood flow in the pulmonary artery.
Pulmonary embolisms can cause breathing problems, chest pain, and even death. With the IVC filter in place, blood can continue to flow around the blocked clot, and over time, natural anticoagulants in the blood will help to break down the clot.
While most new IVC filters are designed to be removed, older filters may remain in place long after the threat of pulmonary embolism is gone. As a result, IVC filters may cause delayed complications associated with migration of the filter to other areas of the IVC, the heart, or pulmonary outflow tract; an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis; filter fracture; IVC penetration; pulmonary embolism; and infection.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received hundreds of adverse reports associated with IVC filters, including numerous reports involving device migration, detachment of device components, perforation of the IVC, and filter fracture.
Concerned that retrievable IVC filters were not always removed once the risk of pulmonary embolism was gone, the FDA recommended that physicians involved in the treatment and follow-up of IVC filters consider the risks and benefits associated with the devices.
Other complications associated with IVC filters include:
- An allergic reaction to the local anesthetic or x-ray dye
- Excessive bleeding, necessitating medicine or blood transfusion
- Damage or perforation of the vein during the procedure
- IVC causes the formation of clots
- Shifting of the filter following surgery, requiring the filter to be recaptured and repositioned
- Pulmonary embolism as the result of clots bypassing the filter
- Injury to the neck or groin
Other complications listed by the FDA include:
- Caval migration
- Arterial hemorrhage
- Small bowel perforation
- Perforated duodenum, the first part of the small intestine
Minor procedural complications associated with IVC filters may include bleeding, hematoma, inadvertent arterial puncture, infection, malposition, and defective filter deployment.
A personal injury lawyer can help in a variety of ways. If you have been injured by an IVC filter or similar device, contact a personal injury attorney at the Linville Law Group today.
You may be eligible to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Family members of those who have died may also be eligible to recover compensation for damages, including funeral expenses and the pain of losing a loved one.
Be aware: the law places a time limit on your ability to file a claim. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.