Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are devices surgically implanted into an individual’s body to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs and heart and prevent pulmonary embolism or stroke. For patients who may be prone to blood clots and are unable to take traditional blood-thinning medication, the small cage-like devices are a viable solution. The FDA recommends that the implantation be removed once the threat of embolism has passed, according to the Digital Journal.
There have been problems where the devices have allegedly fractured and the pieces have migrated to possibly become lodged in or puncture vital organs. Surgical removal of the pieces in that case are impossible due to the “high risk” locations and may leave the patient with potential long-term adverse health consequences, the Digital Journal reports.
One of the large manufacturers of IVC filters, C.R. Bard was investigated by NBC News in 2002. Some deaths were reported resulting from the retrievable filters. The filters were not removed from the market, but continued to be sold leaving some with the impression that “profits were put ahead of human health and that marketers were actually in charge rather than the scientists being in charge,” The Ring of Fire Network reports.