IVC Filter (Bard, Cook, and J&J)
A stroke or pulmonary embolism is a life-threatening event. As the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, cerebrovascular incidents are a compelling threat to public health. Survivors of stroke and pulmonary embolism, also called PE, suffer long-term consequences from delayed motor control to speech problems. Physicians have been searching for ways to avoid recurring strokes or PE by preventing blood clots. Unfortunately, some of these treatments are just as dangerous as the complications they strive to prevent. If you are need of legal help, contact a Savannah IVC filter attorney on our team for a free initial legal consultation.
What is an IVC Filter?
One of the most common causes of death as the result of blood clots is by pulmonary embolism or a clot that becomes lodged in the lung. PEs can have a mortality rate of up to 30% if left untreated. Anticoagulant drugs are considered first-line care for the treatment and prevention of blood clots, but when these options are contraindicated, doctors consider IVC filters.
An IVC filter is a metal device that an interventional cardiologist or vascular surgeon implants in your inferior vena cava, a major vein connected to the heart that facilitates the flow of unoxygenated blood to the lungs, where it is then dispensed to the rest of your body. The filter serves to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and subsequent PEs by capturing clots before they make their way into the lungs or into a major vein. Its cone shape allows blood to flow around the clot without disturbing distribution to your body. A doctor may consider an IVC filter placement in the following scenarios:
- Recurring episodes of PE in spite of anticoagulant therapy. Your doctor may suggest an IVC when you continue to experience clots, even if you take your medication.
- Poor compliance to anticoagulant therapy. If you don’t take your medications regularly, your physician might recommend this as a last step.
- Prophylaxis before surgery. If you have a blood clotting disorder and have a significant history for PE or DVT, your doctor may require an IVC filter placement before you undergo any operations.
- Preventive measures for patients with severe trauma. If you have brain injury or a spinal cord injury or are unable to walk, you’re at an increased risk for blood clots. Your physician may recommend an IVC filter to prevent the occurrence of clots.
What are the Risks Associated with an IVC Filter?
Savannah doctors generally only consider an IVC Filter as a second line option, even then there’s some contention in the medical field for their use. IVC filter placements have their risks, like any other major procedure. Risks of the operation include:
- Venous perforation. For an IVC filter, a surgeon guides a wire through your jugular or femoral vein. If these are perforated, you’ll experience bleeding and will likely need a transfusion. You’ll also need an emergency bypass surgery.
- In rare cases, an IVC filter can actually cause blood clots.
- An IVC filter can shift after placement, requiring further surgery.
The risks associated with an IVC filter are serious and may result in permanent injury. Doctors even debate the efficacy of an IVC filter. Scientific literature suggests little efficacy for IVC filters compared to the risks involved. In fact, one study found decreased overall risk for PE but an increased risk for DVT – deep vein thrombosis – which can cause strokes. Given this information, your doctor should only insert an IVC when there is no other choice.
Have You Suffered Complications from an IVC Filter in Savannah?
If you have endured physical or emotional suffering from an unnecessary IVC filter, you may be entitled to compensation. Botched surgeries can lead to unnecessary additional procedures and long-term consequences. Get in touch with one of our personal injury attorneys in Savannah, GA today to review the specifics of your case and decide on next steps.