IVC filters- how do they work? The device is implanted via a surgery into the largest vein in the human body, the inferior vena cava. It traps the clots that are moving upwards towards the heart. Since a large percentage of blood clots are formed in the legs or the pelvic region, it is positioned in such a manner that itarrests the movement of these clots. This is why the implant is done just below the kidneys, inside the Inferior Vena Cava. This conical shaped device is implanted with its narrower end facing downstream. It helps filter out the blood clots effectively. The blood clots remain at the narrower end and eventually get broken down by the anticoagulants in the bloodstream. Types of IVC filters: Retrievable- This particular device can be removed once it has been determined that its job is done and the patient has no need of it any longer. In some cases, the filter may be left in its place for a longer period of time and the medical professional will decide at what point it needs to be removed. This type is generally used for patients without a history of DVTs, but who may be considered to be at risk of them due to a surgery or injury. Permanent-These were essentially the older type of filters that were apermanent fixture. Once they are implanted in the patient, they continued to remain in the IVC for an indefinite period of time. Side effects of IVC filters While it initially seemed like these implants worked as they should, it soon became evident that they came with a number ofdifferent complications, Some of the common blood clot filter side effects that many patients began suffering from included: Perforation of the filter Blood clot filter migration Filter fracture Embolization (movement of the whole filter or fragments of it moving towards the heart/lungs) Difficulty removing the IVC filter To date, a significant amount of research and studies have been conducted on these implants, their benefits, and blood clot filter side effects. The FDA has conducteddetailed investigations about the complaints and reached the conclusion that these devices would not have caused all these complications if they had beenremoved once they were no longer required. The agency ordered the manufacturers to collect additional comprehensive data related to the use of these particular devices in patients. This would help provide some clarity on blood clot filter side effects and about how safe these medical devices were.
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