Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Mar 07, 2017 in Product Liability
An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a cone-shaped device that is implanted in the inferior vena cava just below the kidneys to capture blood clots and prevent them from reaching the heart or lungs, which could be fatal.
Hospitals around the country have been routinely implanting these devices in trauma patients, even those who are not at risk for blood clots, because there is a widely-held assumption that these devices improve the survival rate of these patients.
However, a new study from JAMA Surgery presents strong evidence that this assumption is false.
This means that hospitals may have needlessly put many patients at risk of serious complications from IVC filters, which include infections, migration of the device to vital organs, and perforation of tissues, organs and veins.
Researchers studied trauma patients who were implanted with IVC filters from 2003 to 2012 at the Level-1 trauma center at Boston University School of Medicine.
Researchers discovered that patients who were implanted with an IVC filter after one day did not have a higher survival rate than patients who were not implanted with a filter after one day. The survival rate of patients implanted with IVC filters was still not higher after six months or one year from discharge.
These devices should still be used, particularly in patients who cannot take anticoagulant medications. However, researchers do not advise medical professionals to use these devices indiscriminately, according to a companion piece about the study published in JAMA Cardiology.
Low Retrieval Rate for IVC Filters
The study identified another major problem with the implantation of IVC filters: only eight percent of temporary filters are removed from trauma patients. Other studies have revealed that less than one third of these devices are ever retrieved.
This is a serious problem because the risk of life-threatening complications from these devices increases the longer they remain in the body.
The main reason these devices are not removed is that many hospitals do not follow up with patients who were implanted with these devices. Also, trauma patients may not realize they were implanted with these devices.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one because of complications from an IVC filter, you may be able to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation for medical expenses, funeral bills, lost wages and other damages.
Contact Stephens, Anderson & Cummings' Bard IVC filter lawyers today for a free, no obligation legal consultation. You will not be charged legal fees unless we obtain a favorable resolution of your claim.