A Canadian man who had been previously told that he would likely have to live with an IVC filter stuck inside his body indefinitely has finally had surgery to have the device removed.
According to a CTV News report, the IVC was originally implanted into the patient’s body to catch blood clots from his legs, but when surgeons tried to remove it eight months later, they found that the device had shifted and one prong was bent and could potentially puncture his pancreas, making it too dangerous to remove. An interventional radiologist who watched a news report outlining the man’s plight got in touch with him soon after and subsequently removed the device through a complex surgical procedure.
FDA: Retrievable Filters Not Meant to be Permanent
Retrievable inferior vena cava filters (rIVCF) were designed to provide temporary prevention from pulmonary embolism and then be removed when they are no longer necessary. However, most rIVCFs are never removed due to:
- Poor clinical follow-up
- Failed retrieval procedures
- Patients not being offered the opportunity for filter removal
Because rIVCFs seem susceptible to greater device-related complications, such as filter penetration of the IVC, filter migration, and filter fracture, the FDA was prompted to update a 2010 safety alert in 2014, urging removal of retrievable inferior vena cava filters once they are deemed no longer necessary, and recommending that physicians consider the risks and benefits of filter removal for each individual patient.
A study published in the September 2016 edition of JAMA Surgery found no substantial difference in the survival rate of trauma patients with or without an IVC filter and recommended that the use of IVC filters should be reexamined given the fact that removal rates are low and there is an increased risk of injury in patients with filters that remain implanted.