IVC Filter Tilt Causes, Retrieval Complications Examined in New Study

Amid continuing concerns about the risk of problems with IVC filters, researchers from New York have conducted a study that examines the risk of filters tilting out of position and causing complications with retrieval.

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are spider-shaped devices that are often implanted for individuals at risk of suffering a pulmonary embolism, which are designed to “catch” blood clots that may break free within the body, preventing them from traveling to the lungs.

Many designs introduced in recent years are designed to be removed once the risk of blood clots has passed, but concerns have emerged about the risk of complications with IVC filters following thousands of reports of problems where the devices moved out of position, punctured the vena cava or fractured, causing small pieces to travel to the heart or lungs.

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In a study presented last week at the 2016 Society of Interventional Radiology, which looked at three types of inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, researchers evaluated the tendency to tilt and the effect it had on removing the devices. The findings have not yet been published for peer review.

In an interview with MedicalResearch.com, lead researcher Dr. Eric T. Aaltonen indicates that between the Bard Denali IVC Filter, the Rex Option and ALN IVC filters, researchers found the Option IVC filters was least stable. However, when IVC filters tilted out of position, it typically required more equipment use and increased fluoroscopy time to retrieve the small filter.

In May 2014, the FDA urged doctors to remove IVC filters within about one to two months after an individual was no longer at risk of suffering a pulmonary embolism, since the risk of problems appeared to be greater the longer the filter was left in place.

Manufacturers have faced increasing criticism for failing to adequately warn doctors about the importance of retrieving the device, and hundreds of IVC filter lawsuits are now being pursued by individuals throughout the U.S.

According to the findings of this latest study, researchers found that the Option filters had an increased rate of tilt at retrieval and also took longer to retrieve than Bard Denali IVC filters, which have been the subject of several product liability lawsuits themselves. The researchers saw little difference between the frequency of tilt in the Bard Denali and ALN IVC filters.

Aaltonen indicates that the study also found that there were a number of other factors which could make retrieving filters easier or more difficult, and called for future research involving large retrieval groups and additional brands of IVC filters.

IVC Filter Lawsuits

A growing number of Bard IVC filter lawsuits and Cook IVC filter lawsuits have been filed in recent years on behalf of individuals who suffered injuries when these retrievable designs migrated, perforated or fractured.

The litigation first emerged in 2010, after the FDA indicated that more than 900 adverse event reports had been received involving the devices. Of those reports, 328 involved the IVC filter breaking free and migrating through the body, 146 involved  components breaking loose, 70 involved the inferior vena cava being perforated and 56 involved the filter fracturing.

Each of the complaints raise similar allegations that the small devices are unreasonably dangerous, and contain inadequate warnings about the potential risk of problems with IVC filters.

As IVC filter injury lawyers continue to review and file complaints on behalf of individuals who have suffered migration or perforation problems, it is ultimately expected that several thousand cases will be filed against manufacturers of the devices, and it is possible that cases may also be pursued for individuals who suffered blood clots from IVC filters.


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