Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are medical devices implanted in the veins of a patient to prevent blood clots (pulmonary emboli) from moving to the lungs. The inferior vena cava is the largest vein in the body and carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart and, later, to the lungs. Doctors implant IVC filters into patients in this particular vein to prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs.
IVC filters have been around since the late 1960s, with retrievable filters FDA approved starting back in 2003. However, since 2005, the FDA has received more than 900 reports of adverse events regarding IVC filters. The majority of adverse events are in regards to filter fracture or migration.
These serious adverse events can be potentially life-threatening:
- Device migration
- Filter embolization (heart, lung, liver, kidney)
- Filter fragmentation
- Insertion-site thrombosis
- Perforation of the vena cava
- Recurrent deep vein thrombosis
- Recurrent pulmonary embolism
- Thrombotic complications
- Vena cava thrombosis
- IVC trauma
- Penetration of vessel wall
- Filter infection
An FDA Safety Communication published in 2010 warned about the risk of leaving retrievable IVC filters in a patient for too long, and recommended that physicians remove the filter once the risk of pulmonary embolism had subsided. An update to that Safety Communication in 2014 again recommended that IVC filters be removed once the risk had passed, as the longer the filter remains, the greater risk of serious medical complications.
If you have suffered complications due to the implantation of an IVC filter, contact the experienced lawyers at McDivitt Law Firm for a free consultation today by calling us toll-free at (877) 846-4878 or request a free and confidential case evaluation.