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Clogged IVC Filter Signs and Symptoms

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An inferior vena cava or IVC filter is a medical device that stops blood clots from entering the lungs and causing a pulmonary embolism [1]. The vena cava is the most prominent vein in the body, which moves blood from the body back to the heart.

The inferior vena cava receives blood from the lower half of the body. IVC filters are usually placed in the abdomen or pelvis.

If you or a relative have experienced IVC filter complications, you may be eligible for compensation. Experienced personal injury lawyers at Schmidt and Clark can help you file your lawsuit.

Quick Summary

  • An IVC filter prevents blood clots from entering the lungs or heart.
  • Symptoms of a clogged IVC filter include swollen legs, leg pain, and pressure in the legs.
  • If you are experiencing symptoms of a clogged filter, see your doctor immediately for filter removal.
  • In 2015, the FDA recognized the risk of IVC filters, saying that doctors should only use them when necessary.

What Is an IVC Filter and How Does It Work?

IVC filters are mesh devices that prevent blood clots from entering the lungs or heart. IVC filters used to be permanent, but due to the concern of clogging, IVC filters are now only used for a short period of time [2].

Symptoms of Clogged IVC Filters

A doctor explaining the symptoms of a clogged IVC filter

Clogged IVC filter signs and symptoms are indicators that your device has captured a blood clot in the inferior vena cava. IVC filters with a blood clot need to be replaced.

Knowing the symptoms is crucial to prevent pulmonary embolism and other adverse health effects [3].

The symptoms of clogged inferior vena cava filters include:

  • Swollen legs,
  • Leg pain
  • The feeling of internal pressure in the legs

Related Article: IVC Filter Lawsuit Update

Symptoms of a Severe Problem With IVC Filters

A doctor researching the symptoms of IVC filters

The signs of a more severe problem with IVC filters, such as a broken or migrated filter, include:

1. Severe Leg Pain

Leg swelling is a symptom of a clogged inferior vena cava filter; however, leg pain that is severe without swelling is a sign that the vena cava IVC filters may have migrated.

IVC filter migration is a serious condition because it can cause severe problems no matter where it migrates. It also can’t prevent a blood clot from entering a blood vessel and eventually reaching the lungs or heart. 

This is complicated because people who suffer from deep vein thrombosis often feel leg pain as a part of the disease.

Those with deep vein thrombosis often need an IVC filter. The leg pain felt from deep vein thrombosis can mask the severe leg pain that accompanies a migrating filter.

2. Pain In The Back Or Abdomen

Pain in the back or abdomen can also be a sign of IVC filter breaking or migration. If the pain is severe, it can mean the IVC filter has poked a hole in a vein or has been lodged in an organ.

Related Article: IVC Filter Pain and Suffering Settlement

What to Do if You Are Noticing Symptoms of a Clogged IVC Filter

Worried womanIf you are feeling any of the symptoms associated with a clogged IVC filter, notify your doctor.

A clogged IVC filter means that it has done its job and captured a blood clot in the inferior vena cava and prevented it from reaching the blood vessels that lead to the heart or lungs and prevent pulmonary embolism.

When an IVC filter clogs, however, you will need to have the IVC filter removed. The blood clot clogging the IVC filter keeps blood flowing from your lower extremities, like your legs.

The strain holding the blood clot against the blood flow in the vena cava can cause the filter to break down over time. If the filter breaks, the blood clot can migrate and cause serious medical problems.

Related Article: Filing a Lawsuit for Delayed IVC Filter Complications

Increased Awareness of IVC Filters Clogging and Device Defects

Although IVC filters were developed in the 1960s, they grew in use in the early 2000s when modifications to the design made IVC filter placement easier. Doctors use IVC filters for patients who need protection from blood clots for a few weeks or months but can’t use blood thinners.

An IVC filter can get clogged due to defective devices that break or migrate over time, which is its main problem.

The FDA recognized these risks and issued a safety recommendation in 2010 that IVC filters inserted for temporary protection against pulmonary embolism should be removed immediately after the risk is mitigated [4].

The optimal window for removing a filter is several months,”
Dr. Piotr Sobieszczyk, Cardiologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Burden of Proof

Worried woman staring out the windowIVC filter lawsuits claim that Bard and Cook Medical’s filters were defective, making them likely to fracture and cause serious medical issues. As of October 2022, over 8,000 lawsuits are pending against these filter manufacturers.

In 2015, NBC News linked the Bard IVC filters to 39 deaths. NBC also claimed that Bard had been aware of the risks for years and did nothing about it [5].

If you or a loved one had an IVC filter placed and experienced health issues, you are able to file a lawsuit for damages, and Schmidt and Clark can help. 

Average Settlement

The average settlement of an IVC filter lawsuit highly depends on the severity of the injury. Based on IVC filter verdicts throughout history, settlements range between $100,000 and $500,000 for significant injury suits, but there will inevitably be some that settle for more or less.

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Can an IVC Filter Stay in the Body Forever?

Yes, doctors can implant an IVC filter permanently or temporarily. It all depends on the patient’s needs.

Is IVC Filter Removal a Major Surgery?

No, the surgery is minimally invasive. However, removing the device can be challenging, especially if it has been in the body for a long time and has built up scar tissue. 

How Long Does an IVC Filter Removal Take To Do?

The removal takes anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the complexity of the filter removal. 

Get a Free Lawsuit Evaluation

If your or a family member has experienced adverse health effects linked to a clogged IVC filter, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages. Experienced personal injury lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP handle cases nationwide and accept new IVC filter cases in all 50 states.

Contact our law firm today for a free lawsuit evaluation, and let Schmidt and Clark help you seek the compensation you deserve.



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