IVC filters and stents are not the same thing. Doctors implant both medical devices in a blood vessel, but that is where the similarities end. Stents allow the blood vessel to remain open and allow blood to pass through with ease. Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters prevent blood clots from going to the heart or lungs and are intended to prevent pulmonary embolisms.
Doctors typically place stents permanently while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends removing IVC filters as soon as possible. In some cases, patients may have both stents and an IVC filter.
Stents Versus IVC Filters: Understanding the Difference
IVC filters and stents have different purposes. Doctors implant them for different reasons and each can have its own unique side effects and complications. IVC filters are more dangerous, as the likelihood of a serious complication is much higher with an IVC filter than with a stent.
IVC filters are tiny, spider-shaped devices that hook into the walls of the patient's inferior vena cava vein. This type of device, when placed in this large vein, can snare blood clots, fat embolisms, and other problems before they can reach the lungs and cause a deadly pulmonary embolism. Most patients who receive this type of implant are at an increased risk for blood clots, often because of deep vein thrombosis.
It is important to note that most IVC filters should only be a temporary measure. If left in place too long, they can cause a multitude of problems. This includes having their thin, metal legs break off and travel to the heart or lungs or get embedded elsewhere. In some cases, complications may occur even before the recommended time for removal elapses.
Most stents are small mesh tubes made of metal. They fit into the smallest veins or arteries to hold them open when there is narrowing, a blockage, or another problem. Stents are permanent implants. Stents allow the blood flow to the heart to continue uninterrupted. This is key in the prevention of heart attacks. Stents are the first line of defense for many patients who suffer from an increased risk of myocardial infarction.
Stent placement is very common among cardiac patients and the risks are relatively low. The most common complication is a blockage or blood clot in the stent, but most patients take prescription blood thinners to prevent this.
Many People Report Issues with IVC Filters
There are thousands of claims pending against manufacturers of IVC filters, with the plaintiffs claiming the devices caused them to suffer painful, debilitating, and potentially deadly complications. Despite the FDA's recommendation that this type of filter only remain in place as long as necessary—with removal preferably scheduled between 29 and 54 days after placement—studies show that far too many remain in place for months, years, or even permanently.
The reported issues with IVC filters include:
- Filter migration, including causing a pulmonary embolism if it reaches the lungs
- Getting embedded into the walls of the vein or other tissues
- Filter fracture that allows pieces to travel to the heart or lungs or get embedded in other body parts
- Vein wall perforation or perforation of organs by broken metal filter “legs”
IVC filters are notoriously difficult to remove, and this may be true even if your doctor tries to remove the filter within the recommended time frame. However, the longer they remain in place, the more your risk of suffering a complication increases.
Some Patients Have IVC Filters and Stents
In some cases, patients may have both IVC filters and stents. The stents and IVC filter may have nothing to do with one another, each existing for independent reasons.
Alternatively, the stents may be necessary to ensure the vein remains open after a failed attempt to remove an IVC filter. In some cases, doctors may use stents if an embedded IVC filter gets obstructed or clogged too often.
You May Be Eligible to Pursue a Payout If You Suffered IVC Filter Complications
If you suffered complications related to an IVC filter, including if doctors failed to remove your filter or could not remove the filter, you might be eligible to pursue compensation for your past and future medical care, related lost wages, pain and suffering, attorney's fees, and more. We may be able to join a mass tort already in progress, help form a new one, or pursue your claim on its own.
The IVC blood clot filter lawsuit lawyers at Tosi & Rose will review the facts of your case and take legal action on your behalf at no out-of-pocket cost to you. We handle these cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid when you do.
Call us today at 888-311-8292 for your confidential, no-cost consultation with a member of our team.