We hear this all the time. Why not just remove the filter?
Unfortunately, it’s so much more complicated than simply removing the potentially very dangerous device. That’s because of a couple of very specific and worrisome issues relating to IVC filters.
Risk Number 1:
The IVC filter may break apart. Meaning it’s not simple to go in and remove one piece as a whole. The breaking apart of an IVC filter is called “device fracture.”
Risk Number 2:
The IVC filter may break apart (or not) and them some (or all) of the device may travel through the veins or into an organ. Meaning, the filter could have moved to an entirely new part of your body, where it was never intended to be, making removal extremely difficult, if not impossible. The moving of the IVC filter from one place, where it’s supposed to be in the Vena Cava, to a new and completely unintentional area is called “device migration.”
Risk Number 3:
The IVC filter may break apart (or not) and then some (or all) of the device may become entangled within the patient’s body. Meaning, it’s simply not going in and removing the piece, because the piece has become stuck in the patient’s body and cannot be easily removed. The entanglement of the IVC filter in a patient’s body is called “device embedment.”
It may sound like a whole lot of bogus, medical talk — or it may sound completely impossible. But let us tell you this: It is possible, and it may happen much more than you’d expect to real people, in the real world, whether they even know what’s going on or know of the risks or not.
The important thing to understand here is that for all of these serious risks, the serious issue doesn’t just end with the initial problem. It’s not “just” the device fracture, device migration or device embedment. Instead, it’s what happens next: The device cannot be removed.
We’re talking to patients around the country who were never told of the potential risks that may come with IVC filters, or the fact that their IVC filter needed to be removed at a certain date. The problem goes past their doctors, surgeons or hospitals — it goes all the way up the pharmaceutical train to the manufacturers of IVC filters themselves. Because it was their job to report these potential risks to doctors, surgeons, hospitals and patients, too, and it was their job to make sure that everyone involved knew of the risks associated with IVC Filters.