Blood clots that travel to the lungs can cause pulmonary embolism, which occurs from blockage in the lung arteries. Some patients in West Virginia and other states have an IVC filter inserted into the inferior vena cava of the abdomen to prevent this issue. Though a problem after this procedure is a rare occurrence, IVC filters have some associated risks.
Bleeding complications and misplacement
Studies have found that IVC filters caused an elevated bleeding risk in some patients. The study revealed that patients had lower chance of getting a Pulmonary Embolism Response team referral from the ER. The highest risk of bleeding occurred at 30 days after insertion. Some issues occur from the filter getting placed in the wrong artery or incorrect position.
Migration makes up the top complaint of IVC filters, accounting for 35% of cases. IVC filters may migrate to another location due to broken pieces or the device being too large for the vein.
A retrievable IVC device being left in too long also tends to cause issues. When a device moves more than one centimeter from the insertion site, medical professionals consider it migrated. Symptoms of a migrated filter could include chest pain, neck pain, tachycardia and hypotension.
Fracturing and AVF
An IVC device has many tiny parts and wires that may break over time or puncture adjacent organs. The devices have been known to puncture the renal vein, pancreas, kidneys, duodenum and aorta. Signs of fracturing may include irregular heart rate, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, confusion, chest pain and neck pain.
Arteriovenous fistula, or AVF, commonly happens because of trauma to adjacent arteries or the joining of arteries and veins. The IVC filter has been known to cause arteriovenous fistula in .02% of cases.
Patients affected by these issues have filed mass torts against makers of IVC devices to recover lost wages. A patient who thinks the filter caused them harm may file a claim against the maker.