Inferior vena cava filters (IVC filters) are devices implanted in people who are at risk for pulmonary embolism. The IVC filter is implanted in the pulmonary artery to prevent (catch) blood clots that have broken free from other veins or arteries from traveling through the pulmonary artery toward the lungs.
If a blood clot were to reach the lungs, the sudden blockage would allow blood to enter the lungs and put a person’s life in immediate danger.
The High Rate Of IVC Filter Failure
IVC filters are intended to prevent life-threatening pulmonary embolism, but several risk factors have been linked to IVC filters and verified by studies that have indicated a failure rate of 21 to 31.7 percent:
- A 2005 study by the New England Society of Vascular Surgery found a 31.7 percent fracture rate among Bard Recovery® IVC filters after examining adverse event reports that were filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- A 2008 study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology found a 21 percent failure rate among Bard Recovery® IVC filters in patients in the study.
- A 2010 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found a 25 percent rate of complications among Bard Recovery® IVC filters in patients. Among patients who experienced filter fracture, 70 percent of cases involved filter migration to the heart. The same study found that Bard G2® IVC filters had a 12 percent fracture rate.
IVC filters are reported to have a high rate of perforation of the vena cava, which results in perforation to surrounding tissue, organs, arteries and the spine or vertebrae.
When retrievable IVC filters fracture, the pieces that float through the bloodstream may cause severe complications.
Life-Threatening IVC Filter Complications
IVC filters look somewhat like umbrellas. Their long legs, or struts, work to capture traveling blood clots before they can reach the lungs. However, the natural functions of the cardiac and respiratory cycles stress the filters and cause them to fail at a high rate, causing the following health complications and injuries:
- Filter fracture
- Filter migration
- Filter embolization
- Filter perforation
- Lower limb deep vein thrombosis
- Vena cava thrombosis
Filter complications often require immediate surgery, and serious injury or medical complications may have already impacted the patient. If you or a loved one has experienced health problems resulting from an IVC filter, call our Houston law firm today. We handle cases throughout the U.S. with precision and care.
Our IVC filter complications lawyers represent clients throughout the United States, including Texas, New York and California.