Product Liability

Risks Associated With an IVC Filter

Physicians use inferior vena cava (IVC) filters to prevent the arterial blockages known as pulmonary embolisms. They insert the filters through veins – a process that can sometimes be risky. Blood clots, filter fractures, filter migration, or filter erosion may occur. Pain, including back pain, may be one indication of an IVC filter failure or blockage.

Some of these filters are designed to be permanent, while others are temporary.1 Once the temporary filters are in place, doctors sometimes leave them in the veins for a longer time than is necessary.

Inserting IVC filters safely

While a medical team is inserting an IVC filter, complications can occur.2 Opening the vein can cause hemorrhages or injure blood vessels. Gas may enter the cavity between the lungs and the chest wall, causing the lungs to collapse.

Doctors use imaging to place filters correctly, but mistakes do occur. These errors can lead to vein injuries. Over the years, the technology for placing IVC filters has improved, but it is not a perfect process.2

Removing IVC filters promptly

When IVC filters are left in place too long, health problems can occur. Some of these problems are23:

  • Perforation of the interior vena cava
  • Filter fracture
  • Filter migration
  • Filter entrapment in a blood vessel (filter embolization)
  • Blood clot formation in a deep vein (deep vein thrombosis)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned doctors about the importance of removing these filters as soon as they are no longer needed.3,4

Getting legal help

If you have experienced adverse effects from an IVC filter, contact a lawyer. You may be able to seek compensation for the health difficulties you have faced. Inadequate patient education may be a reason to pursue a lawsuit. You can also sue for compensation if you've experienced physical pain or the IVC filter has failed.

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