Complications and Risks of IVC Filter Removal
An IVC or Inferior Vena Cava Filter is used by physicians to help prevent blood clots that may move to the lungs and cause death. This procedure involves placing a small filter in the large IVC vein that runs from the abdomen to the heart, and although it is not highly invasive surgery, there are risks when the filter may have to be removed. If you or a loved one experience adverse side effects after receiving a blood clot filter contact an IVC filter lawyer at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. for advise.
Most people are aware of the possibility of developing blood clots that travel through the bloodstream and cause blockages restricting the blood flow. IVC filters trap these blood clots and prevent them from reaching the heart and lungs. These filters can be removed when the patient can take blood thinners, and if other things that cause them not to be effective.
Reasons for IVC Filter Removal
Patients who have a history of blood clots or are at risk of developing blood clots in their legs are candidates for the insertion of an IVC filter. Some of the medical reasons might include a diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a situation where a large clot may form in the large veins of your leg, causing pain and swelling. This may form when there is a blood clotting concern, or the patient does not move regularly.
A pulmonary embolism is another reason for an IVC filter and is a case where a clot has formed in the lungs and has restricted the flow of blood. Other events requiring an IVC filter can be as a result of trauma from an accident or limited exercise and movement.
Removal of the IVC filter may be necessary when there is an increased risk of the formation of new blood clots in the legs. Usually, the physician will evaluate this within six months of the insertion of the IVC, but that is not always the case. Removal may also be needed when the filter fractures and causes damage to the vein by piercing the walls of the vein. Lastly, if the patient can start using blood thinners then the filter can be taken out.
Risks of Removal
The normal procedure for the removal of an IVC filter is to insert a snare into the large vein in the neck and to actually hook the filter since many removable filters are manufactured with the small hook in place. Sometimes the surgeon has to insert tiny forceps into the vein to tease the filter loose and then retrieve it. Both techniques have been very successful.
This procedure can be completed with moderate or local anesthesia and can be done with only a small cut of the skin. However, anytime the skin is penetrated there is the risk of infection. Antibiotic treatment is required in about 1 out of 1,000 cases. Anytime a catheter is placed within a vein there is always the risk of damage to the walls of the vein leading to bleeding or infection. The doctor in charge will take great pains to prevent this from happening.
A more serious situation is when the filter itself may be damaged and may break apart during the removal process. This could release the parts into the bloodstream and eventually cause a blockage and death. The filter could also lodge in the wrong area of the vein and penetrate the vein into another organ. If a filter has been in place for a long period, the walls of the vein may have grown into the filter, and in this case, it will not be removed. Most filters are made with this possibility in mind and were designed to be left in the body.
Summary and Final Thoughts
The insertion of an IVC filter is a proven technique for reducing blood clots that may be a cause of blockage in the lungs and eventually death. Sometimes these filters will be removed based on the observations and decisions of the attending doctor. With invasion into the body and veins there is always the risk of infection or internal damage, especially if the product is defective. If this is the case, you may need to seek the advice of a trained IVC filter lawyer. The law firm of Cochran, Kroll, & Associates P.C., have the experience and expertise to assist a patient who may have a claim. Eileen Kroll is a trial lawyer and a registered nurse who is ready to fight for your rights. Contact our law firm at 1-866-MICH-LAW (1-866-642-4529) for a free consultation. We never charge a fee unless a recovery is made.