Why are IVC Filters Put in Place? What are the Risks?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
The inferior vena cava (IVC), also known as the posterior vena cava, is the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart and lungs. The blood that flows through this vein comes from the legs and lower torso of the body. When there are cardiovascular problems caused by the formation of blood clots in the bloodstream, which in turn cause swelling of the legs, there is a possibility that the blood clots moving to the heart and lungs could cause severe injury and even death. A medical practice used to treat this condition is the placement of an IVC filter in the vein to stop the blood clots. Unfortunately, there are risks with this procedure, and often an IVC filter lawyer needs to be contacted to address any resulting injury.
An IVC filter is a very fragile-looking device made from metal that is placed with a simple surgical procedure into the inferior vena cava. Once it is there it begins to block blood clots, and the patient can then be considered for other treatments after being stabilized. The FDA has recommended IVC filter be removed between 29 and 54 days of the implantation due to the possibility of the device fracturing and breaking apart. The movement of these pieces of metal can cause severe damage to the walls of the vein, the heart and lungs, and even other organs if they are penetrated.
Why Use an IVC Filter?
Usually the diagnosing of the condition of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a sign that there may be a need for the insertion of an IVC filter. A patient with DVT has blood clots forming in the lower part of the body due to immobility, traumatic injury, or some other blood condition, and these blood clots cause the legs to swell. The doctors most often try to treat this condition using blood thinners and other anticoagulants to reduce the size of the blood clots, so they do not move through the bloodstream and affect the heart or lungs. However, some patients cannot take these medications, and the physician uses an IVC filter to protect them until other remedies can be found.
What are the Risks?
The FDA has recommended that the IVC filter be removed within 60 days of implant. However, it has become common practice to leave the devices in place for longer and sometimes not remove them at all. Many of the lawsuits brought to court deal with injuries to patients after the IVC filter has been in place for longer than two years. The law firm of Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. have tracked many of these malpractice suits, and they are expert IVC filter lawyers who will assist an injured patient.
If an IVC apparatus is left in the vein too long the fragile metal wires can fracture and break off the main unit. They then migrate through the bloodstream to other parts of the body and can penetrate the walls of the vein, and even enter the heart and lungs.
There is also a risk when these devices are removed. Although the newer ones are designed with a hook to assist in the removal, they still fracture and can become lodged in the walls of the vein causing damage.
The IVC filters were invented in 1966 to provide an option for treating the movement of blood clots in the body when regular medications are not effective or cannot be tolerated. They have been useful, but in recent years several risks to the patient have been disclosed.
At Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. we have the knowledge and experience to assist patients who have had these implants and who are now having problems. Contact us at 866-MICH-LAW to schedule a free initial consultation. Our law firm never charges a fee unless we win your case!
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.