Agency Recommends Healthcare Professionals Carefully Consider Risks of Device Before Implanting it in Patients
DALLAS (July 28, 2016) – On July 25, 2016, Health Canada issued a safety warning regarding the risks of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, the national law firm of Baron & Budd reports. According to the agency, as of June 6, 2016 it had received 121 reports of severe complications linked to IVC filters, including serious injuries and deaths.
IVC filters are typically implanted in the inferior vena cava, the body’s largest vein, in patients who are at risk of pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot entering the lungs. The spider-like device is designed to catch blood clots as they travel up from the legs.
However, in many instances IVC filters break, with small metal pieces travelling throughout the body. These pieces have become lodged in organs such as the heart and liver, causing severe complications that have, in many instances, proved fatal.
Health Canada is urging healthcare professionals to thoroughly consider the potential complications associated with IVC filters before recommending them for patients. The agency considers retrievable versions of IVC filters to be intended for only short-term placement. They should be removed, according to Health Canada, as soon as either the patient’s risk of a pulmonary embolism subsides or the patient can be started on anticoagulation therapy. The agency recommends that patients with retrievable IVC filters talk to their doctor to determine when the filter should be removed.
In addition, Health Canada announced it will continue to monitor the effectiveness and safety of IVC filters, not only in Canada but worldwide.
“Far too many patients have been harmed by IVC filters when they believed the device would help reduce the risk of a pulmonary embolism,” said Russell Budd, president and managing shareholder of the national law firm of Baron & Budd. “We applaud the action taken by Health Canada to draw attention to this serious problem.”
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