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IVC Filter Studies Suggest Filter May Not Help Trauma Victims

December 14, 2015 · FLEMING | NOLEN | JEZ, L.L.P.

The inferior vena cava (IVC) is one of the largest veins in the human body. It carries vital, deoxygenated blood into the right atrium of the heart. It helps supply the body with blood and the lungs with oxygen. When a body is at risk for a pulmonary embolism or blood clot, doctors may resort to using an inferior vena cava filter to prevent clots from forming and reaching the lungs. However, more lawsuits against the device manufacturers continue to file in for the damage the IVC filter can cause.

Individuals who have endured a painful trauma injury are at a greater risk for blood clots. If other blood thinners or anticoagulant medications do not work, doctors may administer the placement of the IVC filter in order to prevent blood clots. A metal, spiderlike device makes up the filter, which is placed in the inferior vena cava vein. New research shows that this might not be the best option.

In an October study published in the Annals of Surgery, researchers looked at 803 patients who received the IVC filter during a four-year period. They found that patients with trauma injuries suffered greater instances of deep vein thrombosis, a particularly lethal form of blood clot. Because pulmonary embolisms are the third leading cause of death for trauma victims, there is an increase in the use of IVC filters. Researchers believe this is premature, as there is not enough sufficient evidence to back this information.

In fact, studies show that IVC filters can do more harm than good. The New England Society for Vascular Surgery found that the filter fractured about 31% of the times it was used. Another study, conducted by Drs. Ido Weinberg, John Kaufman, and Michael Jaff, shows that an average of 13.3% patients who received the filter suffered complications within the first 21 days. Finally, in an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that many trauma patients received the IVC filter after it was safe to administer an anticoagulant.

IVC filters can potentially cause extreme damage and pain. Patients who have suffered injuries because of the medical device can seek compensation. Our IVC filter injury attorneys have helped victims from many different states seek restitution for their suffering. If you have been injured because of an IVC filter, contact our office today for a free consultation.