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Fractures of IVC Filters as a Complication of Implant Surgery

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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IVC filters can get fractured and cause health problems for patients with implanted devices.

These victims might develop severe health conditions if the broken IVC filters travel away from where they were implanted to more sensitive areas in their bodies.

If you are suffering from a health condition caused by a fractured IVC filter, our team of highly experienced attorneys can help you file a lawsuit and ensure you get compensated for damages.

Quick Summary

  • An IVC filter can get fractured if it is defective or has been in your body for a long time and has succumbed to blood pressure from within.
  • You can receive a higher settlement amount than most victims if you have a unique case and substantial evidence that could convince the judge in court.
  • Sometimes the symptoms of a fractured IVC filter may not become apparent immediately, which is why you need to visit a doctor immediately if you notice any slight changes.
  • You should go for a retrievable IVC filter since it will lessen your chances of developing unwanted health problems.

The Prerequisite for Using IVC Filters

A doctor explaining to a patient about IVC filtersBefore having an IVC filter implant, you have to discuss your health records with a doctor so they can determine if you are fit to undergo such an operation. 

You will be subjected to blood tests, an electrocardiogram (a record of the heart’s electric signals to look for abnormal heart conditions), and an echocardiogram (a medical procedure used to check the condition of your heart).

Also, you will need to provide your medication list so your doctor can tell you which to abstain from before undergoing an IVC surgery. Your doctor will also advise you to stop consuming all foods and liquids at least eight to ten hours before surgery.

When undergoing IVC filter surgery, your surgeon must perform several procedures.

He will start by placing an IV in a vein in your hand while giving you a sedative to help you relax. After that, they proceed to clean and numb the area of your body where they want to insert a catheter.

Once that is done, your doctor will make an incision in your neck and, with the help of fluoroscopy, connect the catheter to your vein. After that, he will insert the IVC filter in your inferior vena cava, ensuring it is well attached to its walls.

The catheter and IV are removed once the surgery is complete, and the incision on your neck is closed with a bandage.

Right after the surgery is done, you will be asked to rest for two to three hours or more, and during this period, your doctor will closely monitor you for any abnormalities. 

In case you experience any pain, you will be provided with medication, after which, if everything checks out fine, you will be free to leave the hospital and be on your way home.

Related Article: IVC Filter Lawsuit Update

How IVC Filters Can Get Broken After a Surgical Implant

Inferior vena cava filters are medical devices that can break under two primary conditions: time and pressure.

When it comes to time, inferior vena cava filters can wear out and become weak after a lengthy period, as most are not designed to be permanent within the body. While there may be non-retrievable IVC filters, it is still advisable that patients go for retrievable IVC filters.

Research suggests retrievable IVC filters are more efficient than non-retrievable ones in preventing pulmonary embolism in high-risk patients who lack anticoagulation [1].

However, if the IVC filter is not removed in the allotted time, the metal portion of the filter may corrode over time due to blood passing by it repeatedly. This could weaken the filter and result in a fracture.

When it comes to pressure, the IVC filter can also get broken, especially because of the way it is designed.

These filters are shaped like the frame of an umbrella with little struts meant to keep the IVC filters firmly in place within the vein walls.

These struts can become extremely weak under too much pressure, particularly if the IVC device is defective.

When the IVC struts break, the IVC filters can easily shift position due to something as minor as a heartbeat or breathing.

Medical Conditions Associated With a Fractured IVC Filter

A doctor looking at a tabletThere are tons of medical conditions associated with a fractured IVC filter. They include internal bleeding, heart attacks, deep vein thrombosis, a hole in the heart, damaged veins and arteries, etc.

Research also strongly suggests that thrombosis, IVC perforation, device infection, malposition, venous access site, and defective filter deployment are some complications associated with an IVC filter fracture [2].

These medical conditions arise because of IVC filter fractures that migrate to sensitive parts of the body, such as the heart and lungs. 

In some cases, a broken inferior vena cava filter, even without migrating, can still lead to medical challenges. It won’t be able to stop blood clots, causing a blockage of the blood supply within the lungs and arteries (a condition known as pulmonary embolism).

Related Article: Cardiac Tamponade Due to IVC Filter

Check out the other medical device cases our attorneys have taken on.

Symptoms of a Fractured IVC Filter

Usually, the symptoms of a fractured IVC filter only become noticeable when the filter has migrated to other parts of the body away from where it was implanted.

This is why severe health issues arise because many patients do not recognize them until they reach a critical stage.

The symptoms of a fractured IVC filter include back pain, stomach pain, neck pain, chest pain, nausea, lightheadedness, confusion, disorientation, etc.

Related Article: IVC Filter Pain and Suffering Compensation

How to Remove an IVC Filter

There are two major techniques used in removing an IVC filter that has been implanted in your body. They are the standard IVC filter removal technique and the complex IVC filter removal technique.

You will be given a mild sedative for relaxation before any of these procedures. Your doctor will monitor and examine you after the IVC filter retrieval. If everything checks out to be fine, you can then resume your normal activities.

Standard IVC Filter Removal Technique

Surgeons passing a pair of scissorsUsing this process, your surgeon will insert a device known as a snare into your jugular vein. After this, they will use fluoroscopy (a medical imaging technique) to help connect the snare to a small hook usually found in most IVC filters.

Once the snare is connected, your surgeon will slowly and steadily withdraw the filter. You won’t feel much pain during this procedure because you will be given either local or general anesthesia.

If this method doesn’t work, the intricate filter removal method known as the “jaws of life technique” will be applied.

Complex IVC Filter Removal Technique

Surgeons use this technique once the standard IVC removal technique has proven unsuccessful. Penn Intervention Radiologists introduced it, and this technique involves the use of forceps during the procedure.

These forceps are used instead of a snare to disconnect the filter from the vein walls and bring it out slowly. This technique is deemed as the technique of last resort when others fail.

When to See a Doctor After an IVC Surgical Implant

Doctor and patientYou should see your doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms after the IVC filter placement. 

These symptoms could include chest pain, continued bleeding, nausea, headache, worsening pain and swelling, tingling sensation, continued numbness, etc.

If you notice that your symptoms are among those listed here, do well to get in touch with your doctor immediately before they spiral into a much more severe condition.

“I see the whole spectrum of IVC filter complications — filter components can penetrate through the vein and cause pain, while some pieces can break, migrate and cause other problems. An old filter can also cause scarring in the vein, leading to vessel occlusion, debilitating leg pain with swelling, and greater risk for blood clots.”
Dr. William Kuo, Professor of Interventional Radiology at Stanford University School of Medicine

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FAQs

What Is the Average Payout for the IVC Filter Lawsuit?

The average payout for the IVC filter lawsuit is around $100,000 to $500,000, but you could get even higher compensation if your case is much more serious and you manage to prove it.

Is IVC Filter Removal Painful?

IVC filter removal isn’t painful because you will be given a sedative or local anesthesia to numb your body and make you feel relaxed when the procedure is going on. However, you might experience slight pain for days after the IVC filter is removed, but you will recover completely quickly.

How Long Does It Take To Remove an IVC Filter?

It takes around 30 to 90 minutes on average to remove an IVC filter, although this depends on the technique used by the surgeon.

Can You Have an MRI if You Have an IVC Filter?

You can have an MRI if you have an IVC filter, but you need to inform your medical professional at the radiology center to ensure your safety.

Get Compensated for Your IVC Filter Injuries Today!

Contact us at Schmidt & Clark, LLP at (866) 588-0600 to get a free case evaluation which will help you find out if you are qualified to file a lawsuit.

We believe you deserve compensation if you suffer from a condition caused by a fractured IVC filter as a complication of implant surgery.

Our team of expert attorneys is readily available to help you fight for the justice you deserve so that you can get your life back together.

Over the years, we have achieved quite a positive result for most of our clients, and we know yours will be no different.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22024114/
  2. https://misuse.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/error/abuse.shtml

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