Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are surgical devices that are threaded into the body through the skin and are intended to prevent life-threatening blood clots from forming after a medical procedure or accident. IVC filters can be implemented permanently or temporarily and removed once the patient’s risk of blood clotting is reduced. Over 250,000 of these devices have been installed as of 2012. However, even though an IVC filter is intended to be retrieved, there is no guarantee that it can be successfully removed. In fact, in a recent study of patients who had plans to have their temporary IVC filters installed, over 25% of them were unable to have their filters successfully removed. The longer that a temporary filter is left in the body, the higher the chance of something going terribly wrong.
Dangers of IVC filters
Despite being approved by the FDA decades ago, it has been revealed in recent years that these delicate devices are prone to malfunctioning and even breaking. As a result, pieces of the IVC filters can then travel through a person’s body causing serious or even deadly injuries such as piercing internal organs or causing blockages in the blood stream.
Other side effects of a malfunctioning IVC filter device include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of consciousness
- Irregular breathing and chest pain
- Heart damage
- Fluid buildup around the heart
Currently the FDA is collecting more analytical information to assess the risks versus benefits of temporary IVC filters. In the meantime, many people who have suffered as a result of these devices are filing suit against the manufacturing companies. These include Boston Scientific, C.R. Bard and Cook Medical, the latter of which has had over 100 suits filed against them. Continue reading