The purpose of an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is to prevent the development of an embolism and to be used for a short period of time and then removed. One South Dakota plaintiff received an Eclipse IVC filter to lower the risk of blood clots that could lead to a pulmonary embolism. The device was meant to be used temporarily and retrieved when she was no longer at risk of developing the embolism, digitaljournal.com reports.
Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are implanted by surgeons in patients who are unable to take anticoagulants (blood thinners). IVCs catch the clots in the blood stream and, over time, clots dissipate, according to drugwatch.
The plaintiff reports that the device allegedly moved and became stuck within her internal organs. To date, despite a surgical attempt to remove it, the IVC filter remains in her organs putting her at risk for potentially life-threatening complications and a potential “sudden catastrophic medical emergency” at any point. In light of this, the woman brought a lawsuit against the manufacturer, C.R. Bard.
In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported they had received over 900 adverse event reports involving IVC migration, fracturing, embolization, and perforation. As a result, four years later, the agency recommended to physicians and the medical community that IVC filters should be removed between 20 and 54 days after implantation.
In the April 2013 issue of JAMA: Internal Medicine, it was written that less than 10 percent of the patients implanted with IVC filters have been able to have the device successfully removed.