What are the Side Effects and Complications of IVC Filters?
While the goal of an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is to prevent blood clots that develop in your veins from reaching your brain, heart, and lungs, evidence is mounting that your health may be at risk if your treatment plan included use of them. There are several types of IVC filters that are presently being reviewed by the FDA for causing a variety of dire health complications. According to a 2010 FDA report on IVC filters, there have been 921 adverse events since 2005, including 70 perforations, 328 device migrations, 56 filter fractures, and 146 embolisms. Each of these device malfunctions can be potentially life threatening, especially if a retractable IVC filter was used.
IVC filters have the potential to migrate from the deployed position to the heart, lungs and other major organs. There have been cases where the IVC filters migrate to the heart valves, pulmonary outflow tracts, or right ventricle. Surgery to remove these migrated IVC filters is very difficult and in some cases too dangerous, leaving you with the potential for an even greater health risk.
One of the most irreversible IVC filter complications is the perforation of the inferior vena cava, the blood vessel that runs between your heart and lung. This is caused by the struts, the wire “legs” of the IVC filter, pushing against the vein wall. According to a report by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the risk of perforation can be as high as 40% to 95%. Penetration and laceration are two types of perforation that both lead to serious life threatening side effects, depending on the location and severity. Many cases of perforation are reported as “clinically insignificant.” However, lacerations can often contribute to internal bleeding, which can wreak havoc on your body. Retrieving the filters and correcting the damage caused by the perforation is another risky prospect if you are already suffering from the side effects of a penetration or laceration.
3. Filter Fracture
Multiple cases of filter fracture have been reported since the introduction of IVC filters. A fractured strut off of an IVC filter can migrate to different parts of your body, causing a variety of severe injuries that can impact not only your immediate health, but your overall quality of life. Some fractured filters are left alone in the body if they are deemed not an immediate health risk, while hazardous filter fractures are retrieved. Retractable IVC filters, for example, are designed to be removed after your blood clot risk has passed following a surgery, injury, or other health incident. One of these retractable filters, the Bard Recovery IVC filter, fractured 40 percent of the time after being left in for more than five and a half years. Permanent IVC filters are meant to be used long-term, and therefore, should experience less defects.
For example, a Missouri woman filed a lawsuit after her IVC filter fractured and a strut lodged in her back. The lawsuit claims she had has “incurred significant medical expenses and has endured pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, and other damages.”
Embolization occurs when an IVC filter travels within the vein to the heart, lungs, brain, or other part of the body, resulting in an embolus, which is the very thing the device is supposed to prevent. An embolus is a blood clot, or other object such as an IVC filter, that lodges in a vessel to cause an embolism. Patients may experience the symptoms shortness of breath, chest pain, and extreme discomfort. If you no longer need protection from a pulmonary embolism, then your retractable IVC filter should be removed.
If you or a loved one have an IVC filter or have experienced IVC filter complications, contact Nolan Caddell Reynolds at 866-242-0452. The law offices of Nolan Caddell Reynolds can help you and your loved ones get compensation for your pain and suffering.