Health problems associated with inferior vena cava filters

23 Jul, 2014
By: Donald W Fohrman
Health problems associated with inferior vena cava filters

The interior vena cava vein carries de-oxygenated blood from the lower portion of the body to the heart’s right atrium and lungs and is also one of the largest veins in the body. Inferior vena cava filters are small devices designed to capture embolisms that could block the pulmonary artery. Although the purpose of these small devices is to prevent significant heart problems for those in Illinois, inferior vena cava filters can lead to injury in certain situations. 

What is the placement procedure like? 

During this procedure, the filter is placed in the body through a blood vessel, typically in the neck or the groin region. Once the point of insertion is determined, the surgeon guides a thin wire throughout the vein and then inserts a contrast dye into the bloodstream. Using x-ray images, the surgeon then guides the filter to its correct place of insertion via a catheter. The catheter is then removed after the filter is in the right position. 

Health risks

 This procedure is associated with a variety of different health risks. Some of these risks include the following:

  • The IVC filter may cause clots to form instead of preventing them.
  • An allergic reaction may be caused by the dye or anesthetic used during the procedure.
  • The area near the neck or the groin where the catheter was inserted may become injured.
  • Extreme bleeding may occur to the point where a blood transfusion is needed.
  • The IVC filter may move positions after insertion, requiring additional surgery to correct its location.
  • Blood clots may still be able to successfully move by the filter. 

Additionally, a study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine discovered that the drawbacks of IVC filters may outshine their alleged benefits. This study analyzed the medical records of 952 patients who underwent the IVC filter placement procedure over a period of eight years. Of the 952, approximately one percent had serious product liability complications. Some of these complications included the filter breaking, the filter migrating to a different location within the body, emoblization and retroperitoneal bleeding. However, researchers later reported that complication rates among patients may actually have been higher after reflecting back on the methods they used to come to their conclusions.

Patients who experience serious health problems due to an IVC placement procedure may be eligible to receive compensation for pain, suffering and the cost of additional medical procedures related to their complications. Those in this situation should consult with an attorney who can provide legal guidance throughout the duration of this process.

Category: Personal Injury

About The Author

Photo of Donald W Fohrman
After completing law school Donald became an assistant Attorney General for 7 years and was assigned to the Industrial Commission Division. During that time he spent evenings establishing his own firm. Donald became a founding partner of a large workers’ compensation/personal injury firm but decided to leave the firm in 1990 to start a smaller “boutique” firm with the belief that bigger isn’t always better!
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