In general, complications of an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter involve placement complications, retrieval complications, and long-term complications. The most serious are filter fracture, migration, perforation of internal organs, internal bleeding, and death.
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Complications that occur during placement of an IVC filter are usually minor, and include bleeding, hematoma, accidentally puncturing an artery, and infection. Major complications occur in less than 1% of placements. The rate of complications varies depending on the access site, and experts recommend avoiding implanting an IVC filter in a clot-containing artery if possible.
One of the most serious placement complications is malposition, in which the IVC filter is placed in an improper position. This increases the risk that the filter with fail to capture blood clots or migrate into another area of the body. These complications can also occur if the IVC filter failed to deploy properly.
IVC Filter Complications
- Migration: IVC filters can migrate from the inferior vena cava into the heart (valves or right ventricle), lungs, pulmonary outflow tract, or veins leading to the kidneys. When this complication occurs, patients may develop chest pain.
- Filter fracture: Retrievable IVC filters have a higher risk of fracture than permanent IVC filters, especially when they are not removed after a patient is no longer at risk of a pulmonary embolism. Fragments can travel through blood vessels into a vital organ and cause life-threatening complications.
- Inferior Vena Cava Perforation or Organ Damage: This may cause internal bleeding and may require surgery to remove the filter.
- Blood clots: IVC filters decrease a patient’s risk of pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs), but they increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs).
- Infection: Also known as bacteremia, this complication occurs when non-sterile technique is used to insert the IVC filter.
IVC filters may be difficult or impossible to remove, even if they were originally designed to be temporary. This complications is especially likely to occur if the filter fractures and pieces travel to vital organs (such as the heart) where the risks of removing the device outweigh the risk of side effects. A permanent IVC filter may increase a patients risk of blood clots in the legs.
IVC Filter Lawsuit Information
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