Are the Benefits of IVC Filters Worth the Risk?
IVC filters have been linked to devastating injuries, including deaths, due to fracturing, which is where a piece of the metal device splinters off and damages an organ. Many lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers, with the plaintiffs claiming these filters were introduced to the market without proper warnings. While manufacturers claim that the risks of the devices are outweighed by their benefits, evidence suggests otherwise.
Well-Documented Side Effects
In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported more than 900 adverse events affecting IVC filter recipients in the previous five years. According to the report, 328 of these events involved the migration of the device to another part of the body, and another 146 involved “device embolizations,” where a piece of the filter detached and lodged itself somewhere in the body. The agency questioned the effectiveness of long-term placement of IVC filters, urging doctors to remove them as quickly as possible once the threat of blood clots had subsided.
In April 2015, the Journal of the American Medical Association released a study comparing the effectiveness of using IVC filters in combination with anticoagulants with the use of anticoagulants only to reduce the risk of blood clots entering the lungs. According to the study, the anticoagulant/IVC filter combination provided no substantial benefit when compared to using anticoagulants alone.
There is a mounting body of research questioning whether IVC filter benefits are worth the potential risk of severe injuries. Even though these devices have been touted as being safe and effective, many patients will tell you otherwise.