According to a March 11 article on the Medpage Today website, patients with an IVC filter who do not have the device removed face an increased risk of developing thrombosis, or a blood clot. The article cited a study that appeared in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Cardiovascular Interventions.
An Understated Risk?
Medpage Today reported that, according to the study, as many as 4 percent of deep vein thrombosis cases could be caused by un-retrieved IVC filters. However, because of a lack of standardized reporting, that number could actually be quite low.
The study’s authors said that if IVC thrombosis is not properly treated, more serious conditions could develop as a result. These include:
- Post-thrombotic syndrome, which can lead to chronic swelling of the extremities
- Venous claudication, which results in substantial pain due to a lack of blood flow
- Venous ulceration, or wounds that occur due to improper circulation
In order to reduce the chances of IVC filter complications, the authors of the study indicated that doctors need to seriously consider whether a patient truly needs the filter implanted in the first place. If that is the case, the device needs to be retrieved as soon as it is “safe and reasonable.”