IVC Filter Complications

IVC Filter Complications
Complications associated with an IVC filter may include fracture, migration, perforation of the inferior vena cava or vital organs, internal bleeding, and death. The risk of complications increases if a retrievable IVC filter is not removed once the patient is no longer at risk for a pulmonary embolism.

Legal Help for IVC Filter

Patients who have suffered IVC filter complications allegedly related to the use of certain devices manufactured by C.R. Bard, Inc. or Cook Medical, Inc. may be entitled to compensation from these companies. To learn if you qualify to file an IVC filter lawsuit, please call the nationwide law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP at (888) 994-5118 to arrange for a free, no-obligation review of your case.

What is an IVC Filter?

IVC filter are used in patients at risk for pulmonary embolism, but who are not able to use standard blood thinning drugs. Retrievable IVC filter are intended for temporary placement, and should be removed once the patient is out of danger. Some common IVC filter brands include:

An IVC filter is implanted into the inferior vena cava, which is the body’s largest blood vessel. It carries blood from lower extremities to the right atrium of the heart and then to the lungs. Once an IVC filter is in place, it will catch any clots that form in the lower extremities before they can travel to the lungs and become a pulmonary embolism.

IVC Filters: What are the Risks?

Possible complications associated with a retrievable IVC filter include:

  • Bleeding or infection at insertion site
  • Damage to the vein used for the procedure
  • Allergic reactions, kidney damage or other issues related to contrast fluid
  • Incorrect placement of the filter
  • Severe swelling of the legs if an IVC filter becomes clogged with clots and blocks blood flow.
  • Filter fracture
  • Filter may loosen, tilt, or migrate to another location in the body, like the heart or lungs
  • Risks of anesthesia or other medicines used during the procedure

In 2010, the FDA issued the first of two alerts that focused on the risks associated with IVC filters. Among other things, the agency disclosed that it had received more than 900 reports of IVC filter complications, some of which resulted in adverse patient outcomes. These incidents included:

  • 328 report of IVC filter migration: This occurs when the filter moves from the inferior vena cava and travels to the heart, lungs, or kidneys.
  • 146 reports of embolization: Components of the device became detached.
  • 70 reports of IVC perforation: The filter or parts of the device punctured or became embedded in the inferior vena cava.
  • 56 reports of IVC filter fracture: If the filter’s struts (legs) break away, they may travel into the heart or lungs and. causing life-threatening complications.

The FDA was concerned that many of the reported incidents occurred because retrievable IVC filter were not removed once a patient no longer had a need for the devices.

In 2014, the agency issued its second IVC filter alert, and reminded doctors about the importance of retrieving filters meant for temporary placement “For patients with retrievable filters, some complications may be avoided if the filter can be removed once the risk of pulmonary embolism has subsided,” the alert stated.

Study Links Unretrieved Blood Clot Filters to IVC Thrombosis

A study published in a March 2016 issue of  JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions suggested that an increase in IVC thrombosis may be linked to untretrieved IVC filters. These dangerous blood clots account for 2.6% to 4.0% of all deep venous thrombosis cases. However, the authors of the report warned that the true incidence may be underestimated, due in part to the exponential increase in the number of unretrieved IVC filters among U.S. patients.  Read More

IVC Filter Lawsuit Reviews

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now offering free, no-obligation legal reviews to individuals who may have experienced serious complications due to a retrievable IVC filter. To learn more about your available legal options, please call (888) 994-5118.

  1. University of Minnesota Medical Center (2015) “Vena Cava Filter Implantation” http://www.uofmmedicalcenter.org/healthlibrary/Article/41273
  2. FDA (2010) “Removing retrievable Interior Vena Cava Filters: Initial Communication” http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm221676.htm
  3. FDA (2014) “Removing retrievable Interior Vena Cava Filters: FDA Communication” http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm396377.htm


Last Modified: April 1, 2016

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