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This retrievable IVC filter is implanted, and its purpose is to basically capture any blood clots which may have formed, to prevent them from travelling and causing complications. Unfortunately however, these devices themselves can sometimes cause complications. When this happens, it is important to consult with an IVC filter lawyer who will have the knowledge and experience to bring a case against the device manufacturer on behalf of their injured client. 

Retrievable IVC Device

A retrievable IVC filter is a small cage-like device and has prongs that come out and look like a cage. These devices are implanted in the inferior vena cava and are used for patients who perhaps are contraindicated for oral anticoagulants or patients who are getting ready to undergo an orthopedic surgery and whose doctors want to prevent blood clots from becoming problematic. The mechanism is pretty straightforward to look at. It is supposed to be placed in such a way that it physically captures any blood clots which may have formed and then prevent them from traveling. If the clot stays there, it dissipates. Instead of thinning the blood like an anticoagulant, it is intended to stop the clots that may have formed from travelling and causing complications.

Some patients just need a temporary IVC filter. If someone has surgery upcoming but they do not necessarily need to be on a blood thinner, then this IVC filter would be placed and would help them get through the surgery and recovery period, and then it is intended to be removed.

Dangers With These Filters

The IVC filters are used for patients who are undergoing a surgery and are intended to be retrieved. That is the practical reason, but the effect is often times that the filters are left in place and not removed, and that is when the complications can result. If someone has a temporary IVC filter manufactured by Bard or Cook, and it is still in place long after the use has expired, that is a sign that the IVC filter should have been removed already.

A retrievable IVC filter can perforate, tilt or get embedded. It can perforate the vena cava, which can be problematic. It can get embedded. Sometimes if it gets embedded it is no longer retrievable and can cause serious issues that way. If it tilts, it can get out of alignment, meaning it’s not preventing any blood clots from forming.

In addition, pieces of it can break off and travel to the heart and really cause severe injuries.

Permanent IVC Filters

A permanent IVC filter is a very similar filter that is not intended to be removed. It is meant to serve as a mechanism to fight blood clotting for the duration of the device’s life. The manufacturers made design changes to originally permanent IVC filter that would allow doctors to retrieve the device sometime after implant.

The permanent IVC filters have been around for a long time and historically have a very low failure rate. These were often used for people with a history of pulmonary embolism or where anticoagulant therapy was contraindicated. These earlier devices, the permanent ones, were a little more difficult to place than the temporary ones, but were intended to stay for long periods of time.

Dangers of These Filters

Permanent IVC filters historically have an extremely low failure rate. If anyone has any concerns about a permanent IVC filter – and they typically know what type they have – they should speak with their doctor, because severe complications can result from the use of any medical device. However, compared to retrievable IVC filters, the permanent IVC filter has a very low failure rate and it is not something that is usually over concerning. If someone has a permanent filter, they probably do not have a case, because the failure rate with the permanent filters are nowhere near as high as it tends to be with temporary filters.