IVC Filters

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter

The inferior vena cava is a large vein that carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart. From there, the heart pumps the blood through the pulmonary arteries to both lungs.

x-ray with IVC filter

An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a small device inserted surgically into the inferior vena cava to trap blood clots and prevent them from traveling into the lungs which can cause a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism is a potentially fatal blockage of an artery which prevents blood from traveling from the lungs to the heart. The thought is that the blood clot will dissolve naturally once it has been trapped by the IVC filter.

While IVC filters have the potential to be life-saving, in some cases preventing strokes and heart attacks in patients vulnerable to the formation of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, they can also fail and cause life-threatening complications. Some people are in danger but unaware due to a lack of symptoms.

While some IVC filters are permanent, many are temporary and intended for prompt removal once the patient is no longer at risk for blood clots and/or a pulmonary embolism. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that the IVC filters be removed between the 29th and 54th day after implantation, unless the risk hasn’t subsided. However, many IVC filters have remained in place longer than intended, which can lead to several complications including the device moving and/or breaking, causing injury to organs, internal bleeding and even the very life-threatening blood clots they were designed to prevent.

What are the risks of an IVC filter? According to the FDA, several risks and complications can occur including:

  1. Infection
  2. Excess bleeding
  3. Allergic reaction
  4. Damage to the blood vessel at the insertion site
  5. Blockage of blood flow through the inferior vena cava
  6. Migration to other parts of the body including the heart and lungs
  7. Perforation of the inferior vena cava which can cause damage to organs
  8. Continued risk of blood clots and pulmonary embolism
  9. Capture of blood clots as a result of poor placement

These issues can cause deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, infections, organ perforations, and other life-threatening injuries.

If a loved one has passed and you suspect they had an IVC Filter implanted, or if you have had an IVC filter inserted, even if you haven’t experienced these or any other complications, call 800-797-5391. You may be owed compensation and VanDerGinst Law would be honored to help. The consultation is free and there is never a fee unless we win.