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IVC filters: 4 things you should know

Each year, doctors implant about a quarter of a million IVC filters into patients at risk for blood clots. New studies have revealed serious dangers associated with these devices.

Doctors usually treat blood clots with an anticoagulant, also know as a blood thinner. However, blood-thinning medicines are not safe for some people. If you are at risk for a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lungs) your doctor may implant an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter. IVC filters are devices placed into a large vein in your abdomen to catch blood clots.

Unfortunately, IVC filters have been associated with catastrophic injuries. If you have a blood clot filter, you should discuss the following topics with your doctor.

Top 4 facts about IVC filters

  1. The longer an IVC filter remains, the higher the risk of injury. Once a patient’s risk for blood clots has passed, retrievable IVC Filters should be removed — between 1-2 months after implantation. Long-term risks associated with IVC filters include lower limb deep vein thrombosis and IVC occlusion. In one study, only 8.5 percent of IVC filters were successfully removed.
  2. The device is connected to 27 deaths. A recent NBC investigative report revealed that at least 27 deaths have been linked to IVC filters. According to the news outlet, “Serious questions are being raised about [IVC filters] implanted in thousands of Americans at risk for blood clots — including whether the manufacturer told all it knew about potentially fatal flaws.”
  3.  The FDA has received many reports of serious injuries. The device can migrate, fracture, move to the heart or lungs, perforate and be difficult to remove. These injuries may be related to how long the filter has been implanted.
  4. A new study suggests that IVC filters do not provide any medical benefit. “High rates of prophylactic IVC filter placement have no effect on reducing trauma patient mortality and are associated with an increase in DVT events.”

The medical device attorneys at Elk & Elk are investigating claims involving IVC filters. If you had any retrievable IVC filter implanted after 2002, call 1-800-ELK-OHIO today. You may be eligible for compensation.



Sarosiek, Shayna, Mark Crowther, and J. Mark Sloan. “Indications, complications, and management of inferior vena cava filters: the experience in 952 patients at an academic hospital with a level I trauma center.” JAMA Internal Medicine 173.7 (2013): 513-517.

Hemmila, Mark R., et al. “Prophylactic Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement Does Not Result in a Survival Benefit for Trauma Patients.” Annals of Surgery, 262.4 (2015): 577-585.