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Blood clots and inferior vena cava filter risks

Some people in Maryland are prone to developing blood clots. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that they can be related to genetics or come from other causes such as:

  •          Cholesterol buildup
  •          Surgery
  •          Using an intravenous catheter over a long period of time
  •          Pregnancy
  •          Using estrogen hormones or birth control
  •          Kidney disease

When people are diagnosed at being at risk for blood clots, or they have developed a clot, the first step doctors take is to put them on a prescription drug that is designed to thin the blood. The idea is that by making the blood thinner, the blood clot will eventually dissolve – usually in a matter of a few months. However, if the blood thinner does not appear to be working, then the doctors may suggest inserting an inferior vena cava filter.

An IVC filter essentially is a tiny device that looks a bit like the frame of a teepee. It has several prongs and its purpose is to catch the blood clot before it can reach the person’s heart or lungs. However, according to NBC News, these filters pose risks to patients. One filter, the Recovery, manufactured by C.R. Bard was shown to have a history of problems. Filter prongs would break off and then travel to the heart or lungs themselves, or they would puncture the vein wall. Other times, the filter itself would move out of position, which could cause patients unnecessary complications.

A study conducted several years ago, acknowledged that the filter was problematic and yet despite this warning, the filter continued to be produced and marketed to the medical community for five more years. That decision resulted in hundreds of complications and 27 people actually died after the filter failed to work properly. Additionally, the replacement to that filter, the G2 series, has also been connected to several issues and at least 12 deaths. 

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