The purpose of an inferior vena cava filter (IVC) is to prevent the development of an embolism, and it is generally removed when the danger of the embolism has passed. An IVC filter is implanted in patients who are unable to take anticoagulants (blood thinner) for a variety of reasons. The IVCs catch the clots in the blood stream and at some point, the clots dissipate, according to drugwatch.com. Theoretically, at that point, the filter should be removed.
A South Dakota woman received an Eclipse IVC filter to lower her risk of blood clots that could lead to a pulmonary embolism. The device was meant to remain implanted temporarily, and be removed when she was no longer at risk for the potentially life-threatening condition. The plaintiff reports that the device allegedly travelled and became stuck within her internal organs. Despite a surgical attempt to remove the IVC filter, the device remains in her organs causing her to live with the stress of a possible “sudden catastrophic medical emergency” at any point. This situation led her to file suit against C.R. Bard, the manufacturer of the IVC filter.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration received complaints since 2010 of over 900 adverse events involving IVC migration, fracturing, embolization, and perforation. As a result, four years later, the FDA advised physicians and the medical community to recommend removal of IVC filters between 20 and 54 days after implantation.
The April 2013 issue of JAMA: Internal Medicine reported that less than 10 percent of women implanted with IVC filters who sought to have their devices removed, were able to have them taken out successfully.