Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are designed for patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolisms (PE) who cannot tolerate blood thinners and other anticoagulant medication. Patients with DVT or PE are at greater risk for a thrombosis (blood clot) breaking off and traveling to the heart or brain. The IVC filter is supposed to prevent these life-threatening events from occurring. However, there is medical research that suggests that IVC filters are dangerous and may even cause or contribute to DVT.
Evidence of IVC Filters Increasing Risk of DVT
A study of 400 randomly selected patients with IVC filters found that DVT occurred more often than in patients without IVC filters, according to an analysis by the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that 74 out of 952 patients with IVC filters developed blood clots.
The ACC recommends that use of IVC filters should be limited to patients at greatest risk for blood clots who cannot take blood thinners. In addition to a greater risk of developing DVT, patients with implanted IVC filters may experience:
- Device migrating (moving) or breaking apart inside the body
- Improper placement
- Perforated organs and internal bleeding
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Blood clots
- Pulmonary embolisms (PE)
FDA Warnings for Healthcare Providers and Patients
In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the many adverse side effects and complications associated with an IVC filter. The agency received more than 920 reports from across the country that showed a clear link between the medical device and life-threatening complications.
In fact, the FDA now recommends that healthcare providers use the IVC filter only as a last resort, including:
- Prevention of PE in patients who cannot tolerate standard treatment of anticoagulant medicine.
- When anticoagulant therapy for PE and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is unsuccessful.
- As emergency treatment when conventional measures fail after a massive pulmonary embolism.
Dangers of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
With growing evidence that IVC filters cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT), you should know why DVT is a potentially fatal condition. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs or lower extremities. If untreated, a DVT can travel to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism (PE). A blood clot in your lungs increases your risk of a fatal heart attack or stroke.
Causes and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Patients with an IVC filter can suffer from many side effects, including an increased risk for DVT. Other causes for the condition include:
- Blood clotting disorder
- Paralysis, prolonged bed rest, or sitting for extended periods of time (for example driving or flying)
- Injury or trauma to a deep vein
- Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Some forms of cancer and/or cancer treatment
- Heart failure
- Family history
The standard treatment for DVT is anticoagulants or blood thinners such as warfarin, Lovenox, and Pradaxa. These are taken either by mouth or through injections. These medicines thin your blood to inhibit the development of future clots. Doctors may also prescribe clot-busting drugs.
Patients Who Cannot Tolerate Anticoagulants
Although blood thinners are preferred for DVT and PE, some people cannot tolerate anticoagulant medicine. Blood thinners have their own risk for adverse side effects, such as:
- Kidney or liver damage
- Potential for fatal brain bleeds
- Bleeding in the GI tract
- Severe bleeding if in an accident
IVC filters were supposed to be a safe alternative for these patients. However, they can cause Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Compensation for Patients With IVC Filters
Although both the FDA and the American College of Cariodlogy (ACC) recommend that IVC filters be used only as a last option, many people have these medical devices inserted in their inferior vena cava.
The inferior vena cava is one of two of your body's largest veins. It is responsible for carrying deoxygenated blood from your lower extremities back to your heart. IVC filters are inserted into this vein for patients who cannot tolerate blood thinners to treat DVT or PE. However, the risks for using this medical device may outweigh the benefits.
You or a loved one may be entitled to compensation if you have an IVC filter and developed a DVT. Some patients have already successfully recovered damages, such as:
- Medical bills for corrective surgery, medication, and therapies
- Lost pay
- Reduced earning ability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Wrongful death
An IVC blood clot filter lawsuit lawyer from Tosi & Rose can help you recover compensation if you qualify. For more information, please call 888-311-8292.