Lower-limb Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
IVC filters were designed as a last-resort treatment for patients at high risk for blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. The filters feature several “wires” which capture blood clots as they pass through the inferior vena cava vein, the largest vein in the human body. By placing these filters, they catch blood clots before they can enter the lungs, reducing the risk of pulmonary embolism.
Complications from IVC Filters
The newest models of IVC filters are designed to be optionally retrievable. These IVC filters have a high rate of failure. Pieces of the filter often break off and migrate, causing additional health problems. Some of the additional complications can be very severe and may cause death.
Indications for IVC Filter Implantation
IVC filters should be used for:
- In scenarios where anticoagulant drugs are not working.
- Where previous methods are ineffective, and breakthrough pulmonary embolisms occur.
- When blood clots frequently reoccur despite multiple treatment methods.
- In patients who are at-risk for pulmonary embolism during surgery.
Because of the multitude of adverse side effects from IVC implantation, it’s suggested that they only be used in these circumstances.
IVC Filters and DVT
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) puts patients at a high risk for pulmonary embolism. When you develop DVT, you suffer from blood clotting that develops in one of your deep veins, usually in the legs. DVT symptoms include pain, redness, swelling, and “spider veins.” DVT clots can quickly break loose and travel through the bloodstream into the lungs, potentially triggering a pulmonary embolism.
Doctors will often put patients on blood-thinning medications, assign an exercise regime, and other treatments. In some severe or reoccurring cases, doctors will implant an IVC filter. However, it has been found that IVC filters can actually increase reoccurrences of DVT.
8-Year Study Finds Connections Between IVC Filters and Increased DVT Rates
One study looked at the reoccurrence rates of DVT in patients who were implanted with permanent IVC filters. After two years, the occurrence of pulmonary embolisms had decreased 50% in patients with the filter as opposed to those without the filters. However, the study also noted that DVT occurrences significantly increased in filter patients, jumping from 11.6% to 20.8%.
Checking in at 8 years, doctors noticed that the reoccurrence of pulmonary embolisms further decreased, while DVT rates rose even further. The study concluded that while IVC filters are effective at treating pulmonary embolisms, they do so at the cost of dramatically increased risks of reoccurring DVT.
Lawsuits Against IVC Filter Manufacturers
IVC filters have been the center of a great deal of controversy lately. With filter migration, tilt, detachment, vein wall punctures, and increased reoccurrences of DVT, IVC filters come at the expense of serious risks. Currently, there are numerous lawsuits against the manufacturers of some of the most popular IVC filter brands.
Contact an Experienced IVC Filter Attorney
Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is experienced in defective device law and IVC filter cases. We fight for our clients. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on defective IVC filters or the litigation process.