IVC Filter Removal
An inferior vena cava filter, or IVC filter, is a tiny basket-like object that is inserted into the body when doctors are worried about potential damage from blood clots. Blood clots that could make their way to the lungs can be fatal, and the idea of the IVC filter is to remove these clots before that can happen.
There are, however, complications associated with the filters, and lawsuits against the manufacturers have become commonplace in the United States. There is some controversy regarding the removal of these filters as well.
Do IVC Filters Need to be Removed?
There are two major types of IVC filters. Some of the filters are permanent, while the others must be removed after a certain amount of time. The permanent filters can stay in place in the IVC for the rest of the patient’s life. It may be removed if there is some complication while they are in the body, but it is not necessary if it is functioning normally.
Then we have the temporary IVC filters, which are only good for a certain amount of time. According to the United States FDA, the filters should be removed within 54 days of implementation. The goal is to reduce the risk of a blood clot within those 54 days, and then use medication to ensure the patient remains in good health. Beyond 54 days, these non-permanent filters are not safe to stay in the body.
Watch a patient getting her IVC filter removed:
Complications from the Filters
The major issue with these IVC filters is that complications can happen when the filter is put into the body, when it is removed, or even when it is in the body. The issue with the non-permanent filters is that the chance of a major complication while the filter is in the body will increase if it is not removed within 54 days.
Possible complications include the filter migrating to another part of the body, deep vein thrombosis, the filter having components detach, or the filter getting infected or breaking. Any of these issues can have serious health risks for the patients. Those who do have a non-permanent filter must talk with their doctor about removal if the 54 days are fast approaching.
There are issues that can arise while the filter is being removed. For instance, the blood vessel may become perforated, while there may be large clots in the filter that make removal very difficult. There may be instances where the doctors have to wait a week or a few days before they can safely remove the filter.
Due to the many complications that can arise from the different versions of the IVC filter, there are many patients who filed lawsuits against manufacturers. If your filter was put in after 2003, you may have a case against the manufacturer. If you experience any complications with the IVC filter, especially when it is still in the body, it is important to consult with an attorney. A lawyer is the best person to help fight a case against the manufacturer.