Are IVC Filters Safe?

When concerned about bloodIVC filters may cause vascular problems clots in trauma patients or obese surgical patients, doctors may recommend an IVC filter, which is a small, implantable metal device that looks like a cage surrounded by wiry “legs.” Inserted laparoscopically and guided into the inferior vena cava—the body's longest vein—IVC filters are designed to catch blood clots before they have a chance to travel to other parts of the body, causing strokes, pulmonary embolisms, or deep vein thrombosis.

For patients who can't take anticoagulants or haven't seen suitable blood-thinning effects from their anticoagulant medication, a well-functioning IVC filter can be nothing short of miraculous.

Unfortunately, retrievable IVC filters—which are the most commonly used form of the device—have been linked to a number of concerning side effects and complications, which has many patients questioning their safety.

IVC Filter Side Effects and Complications

Patients considering an IVC filter must weigh the benefits of the device against its potential risks. IVC filters are linked to serious side effects and complications, including infections, and punctured veins and organs. These devices can also break apart, causing pieces to travel around inside the body, resulting in serious organ and tissue damage. Additionally, in some patients, IVC filters can have the opposite of the intended effect, actually causing blood clots in the legs or lungs, rather than preventing them.

FDA Removal Recommendations

In response to numerous reports of adverse events involving retrievable IVC filters, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends these devices be removed approximately four weeks—and no longer than 54 days—after implantation. If left in place too long, the risks of an IVC filter begin to outweigh any associated benefits. Unfortunately, despite FDA guidelines to the contrary, many retrievable IVC filters, which are designed to be temporary, are being left in patients indefinitely.

Did You Suffer IVC Filter Complications?

If you suffered serious side effects or complications from a retrievable IVC filter, you may be able to seek compensation for damages from the device's manufacturer. Call McGartland Law today to schedule a free consultation appointment to discuss your case.