People who suffer from blood clotting that leads to Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or Pulmonary Embolism (PE) sometimes are unable to use anticoagulant medicines. For those persons, their health care provider may recommend insertion of a retrievable or permanent Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter. This device acts as a trap for blood clots, catching any that come up from the lower part of the body and would otherwise travel up to the lungs or heart, possibly causing the patient to need surgery to remove the clot. Those clots also cause death in some cases.
IVC Filter Thrombosis
The IVC Filter can be a life-saver for many patients, but sometimes it fails and causes IVC Filter Thrombosis, another type of blood clotting problem. The remedy could be removal of a retrievable device, but if the device failure includes fracturing of the metal arms and release of small particles into the blood stream, the patient may require surgery to prevent death. There is a limited amount of clinical data to support the use of IVC Filters as an alternative to anticoagulant therapy. However, if the patient is allergic to those anticoagulant medicines, the IVC Filter may be the best alternative to try.
IVC Filter Thrombosis can occur at the site of insertion of the catheter enclosing the device as it is put into the large vein. It also can occur after the device is in place, or if it becomes dislodged from where it should be secured. The device is constructed like a small cone-shaped strainer, placed to catch any blood clots as they travel past the device. It is extremely small, with long thin metal arms spread out to form the cone shape. If this area becomes clogged with blood clots, the device would need to be removed or it could cause harm. This is easier with retrievable filters; permanent ones may require surgery for removal.
Studies were conducted in 2000 on patients with IVC Filters. This study found that pulmonary embolism (PE) only occurred in 5.6% of the patients studied. Only 2.7% of the patients studied died from PE related to IVC Filter use. Problems occurred around 4 days after insertion. This study was conducted over a 25 year period, and some failures may have occurred due to this being a new technology and that practitioners were not experienced in using IVC Filters.
Serious Blood Clotting
Thrombosis following insertion of IVC Filters can be reduced by using anticoagulant medications, except in patients that cannot tolerate those substances. The objective is to avoid serious blood clotting, which can occur following surgery or trauma. Another study showed that no statistical differences were revealed in patients that received anticoagulant treatment and those that did not. Another trial showed the same results, but it is generally considered that anticoagulants are useful in prevention of recurrent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in patients who had vena cava filters inserted, except for patients who have a history of hemorrhage or anticoagulant complications. Most studies suggest that the retrievable filters are preferred over permanent ones, because short term use, about 1 month, minimizes chances of failure or overgrowth of cells from the IVC wall. When filters are used for at least 3 months, anticoagulant therapy is recommended, if there are no contraindications.
Serious blood clotting can be fatal, especially when blood clots are released into the blood stream and travel to major life-supporting organs, like the heart, lungs or brain. It often occurs following surgery, as people are put on blood thinning medications or other therapy to try to avoid clotting problems. Still, clots can form and if nothing stops them, they move quickly to cause harm. The IVC Filter acts as a small trap, like a strainer, to capture loose clots.
The IVC Filter is used in patients who are subject to blood clotting, even if they are using anticoagulant medicines. It also is recommended for use in patients who are allergic to anticoagulants or suffer from bleeding when they use anticoagulants. The filter is constructed from thin, light-weight metals, usually non-ferromagnetic. It has long thin wire extensions that spread out to form the cone shape, and the ends have little claws that adhere to the vein wall to keep the device in place. It is inserted within a thin catheter, usually at either the jugular or groin vein. Some are designed to be retrievable, which is generally preferred because the best use of these filters is short-term, less than a month. The IVC Filter often is used in combination with blood thinners, to further reduce chance of clotting, but only in patients who can tolerate anticoagulants.
Lawsuits and IVC Filter Thrombosis
Removable IFC Filters were first designed in 1967, but the FDA did not approve them until 2003 and 2004 in the United States. In 2005, the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) called the first multidisciplinary conference to discuss how nonpermanent vena cava filters could be use. By 2010, the FDA released a report showing event that were associated with long term use of IVC Filters. The medical community generally attributed negative side effects of IVC Filter use to having the device in place longer than necessary.
Manufacturers of IVC Filters familiar to the medical community include: Boston Scientific/Meditech, Cook Medical, Inc., Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc., and B. Braun Medical, Inc. It is estimated that in the United States, about 49,000 IVC Filters are used each year. Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) affects 400,000 to 650,000 patients annually, and between 50,000 to 240,000 fatalities are associated to it.
When you suffer bodily harm from a product that is defective, fails, or does not perform up to standards, you may be eligible to file a Personal Injury Lawsuit to recover monetary compensation for expenses and other damages related to that product failure. Most personal injury cases are handled on a contingency fee basis, so there is no fee if your case is not won. You may still have to pay small office fees.
Consult with an experienced IVC Filter Attorney for best results if you suffered harm from use of an IVC Filter or if a loved one died from its use. This attorney can also advise you if there is a class-action lawsuit in progress that you might join. Our Personal Injury Attorney has experience in this area of lawsuit action; meet with us at a free initial consultation to determine which legal action will bring you optimum results.