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Types of IVC Filters

Millions of Americans diagnosed with possible blood clotting issues have treated their condition with an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter. IVC filters are designed to stop blood clots from traveling to the patient’s heart or lungs. However, these filters have caused multiple medical injuries and health issues for a variety of reasons, including the defective design of some of these products and risks associated with removal of the product. Get in touch with a dedicated lawyer to learn more about the various types of IVC filters.

Temporary or Retrievable IVC Filters

To place an IVC filter, a catheter is inserted into a large vein in either the patient’s leg or neck. This catheter is advanced to the inferior vena cava—located in the abdomen—where the surgeon will then place the IVC filter via the catheter. Once in place, the surgeon releases the filter, which expands and attaches to the walls of the blood vessel.

When the IVC filter is removed, a catheter is again inserted. The surgeon uses the catheter to grab hold of a small hook on the end of the filter. Once captured, the filter is closed and removed from the body. If the filter is not removed properly, it can result in serious injury to the patient. Symptoms of improper removal include:

  • Blood vessel perforation
  • Difficult retrieval causing long surgery times
  • Large clots in the filter that prevent removal
  • Parts of the filter not being removed
  • Scars in the vein that prevent removal

Permanent IVC Filters

Permanent IVC filters do not have a hook on the end and are not designed to be removed. Because of the more severe complication and risk rates of retrievable filters, doctors will often use permanent filters in patients who have lifelong clotting issues. However, there are multiple risks and dangers associated with permanent IVC filters that patients need to be aware of.

In addition to the risks of complications which can occur during placement or expansion of the filter, complications that may develop after placement include:

  • Blockage that causes swelling in the legs
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Device infection
  • Embolization (detachment of device components)
  • Filter fracture or breakage
  • Migration of the filter to another part of the vena cava, the heart, or the other organs
  • Perforated organs

If you or a family member suffered an adverse injury from an IVC filter, you may be able to pursue a lawsuit for damages against the manufacturer and any other responsible parties. Contact a dangerous product attorney today to discuss the legal options available to you.