In 2012, a team of researchers from the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco published an article that illustrated some serious risks associated with the use of IVC filters.
Inferior vena cava filters are small metal filters inserted into the inferior vena cava vein, used in patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) to mechanically catch blood clots before they can reach the lungs and cause in pulmonary embolism. Sometimes, these filters are implanted permanently, and sometimes IVC filters are implanted for a limited time, ranging from a few months to a year.
Unfortunately, IVC filters can prove difficult to remove, and research has shown that the longer an IVC filter stays in the inferior vena cava, the more likely it is to fail or cause dangerous side effects. IVC side effects can include perforation (tearing) of the IVC vein or internal organ, IVC fracture and embolization (wherein the IVC filter breaks and travels through the blood to the heart or lungs, resulting in myriad – potentially deadly – health problems), and both tilting and migration of the device.
The team from UC San Francisco, led by JC Durack, studied 50 IVC filter patients with abdominal CT scans, and presented results of their study titled “Perforation of the IVC: rule rather than exception after longer indwelling times for the Günther Tulip and Celect retrievable filters.” in Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology.
Durack et al. (2012) found “Perforation of at least one filter component through the IVC was observed in 43 of 50 (86%) filters on CT scans obtained between 1 and 880 days after filter placement.”
“All filters imaged after 71 days showed some degree of vena caval perforation, often as a progressive process. Filter tilt was seen in 20 of 50 (40%) filters, and all tilted filters also demonstrated vena caval perforation.”
As such, researchers concluded that “Longer indwelling times usually result in vena caval perforation by retrievable Günther Tulip and Celect IVC filters” and noted that side effects “from IVC filter components breaching the vena cava can be significant.”
Because of the high rate of IVC complications, the team suggests “filter retrieval as early as clinically indicated and increased attention to the appearance of IVC filters on all follow-up imaging studies.”
Due to the fact that many IVC filter manufacturers have failed time and again to adequately warn users of these risks, many IVC lawsuits are currently being filed, including one multidistrict litigation.
If you or a loved one used an IVC filter and suffered an adverse outcome, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. For a free, no-obligation IVC case consultation, contact our team of IVC lawyers at the information provided below.
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If you have any questions about IVC filter lawsuits, see our IVC Filter Lawsuit Information page or give us a call.