A recent study published in the JAMA Surgery journal suggests that IVC filters – commonly thought of as life-saving devices – might not be the safest option for some patients; especially those who didn’t need them in the first place.
After thorough studies conducted over multiple years, researchers reported that the “indiscriminate use of IVCFs without clear indications places patients at risk of serious complications.” Accordingly, the practice is now under careful watch.
IVC filters effectively prevent against pulmonary embolisms in patients who can’t tolerate anticoagulants. However, implanting the filter comes with its own set of risks, particularly the perforation of major blood vessels.
Important Findings from the Study
Considering the serious complications that can come from implantation of an IVC filter, researchers sought to identify just how effective the device actually is. Of particular concern: The association between implantation of an IVC filter and overall mortality rate among individuals who were inserted with the device.
Patients of the Boston Medical Center who were inserted with an IVC filter between August 1, 2003 and December 31, 2012 were examined. Researchers found that implanting an IVC filter in trauma patients who survived at least 24 hours after their injuries did not improve or hinder the patient’s chances of survival. Thus bringing forth the question: How often are these filters being implanted, and is it truly necessary?
Given that no difference in mortality or survival was found in patients inserted with the filter vs. those who were not, authors of the study are now encouraging that use of IVC filters in trauma patients be reexamined.
Furthermore, the study found that filters implanted in trauma patients are not always removed as they should be. The result can be “an increased risk of morbidity in patients with filters that remain in place.” When filters aren’t removed as they should be, patients could be placed at an increased risk of serious complications.
About IVC Filters
While IVC filters have provided a safe way to stop blood clotting in anticoagulant-intolerant individuals, the devices can be dangerous nevertheless. Serious health complications have resulted from device-related issues such as:
- Device migration
- Filter fractures
If you or someone you know suffered from health complications caused by an IVC filter, our San Francisco defective medical device attorneys can help. Don’t wait to contact us at Kaiser Gornick LLP for a free consultation.