Fewer Patients Receiving IVC Filters As Lawsuits Continue
IVC filters appear to be getting less popular with doctors and patients across the country. This may be in direct response to the serious medical problems linked to the devices. In recent years, an increasing number of IVC filter patients have suffered devastating injuries after their devices migrated, shifted, fractured, or tilted in the body.
Doctors May Be More Concerned About IVC Filter Risks
A study that was recently published in the American Journal of Roentgenology reveals that fewer patients are receiving IVC filters. Between 2009 and 2015, the use of these blood clot filters decreased significantly. Doctors use the devices 36% less in Medicare patients and 27% less in patients with private insurance.
Doctors may be increasingly hesitant to use these controversial devices in elderly patients. Elderly patients are more susceptible to suffer injuries if there are any device complications. This may explain why fewer Medicare patients are getting IVC filter implants.
Lawsuits May Discourage Use of IVC Filters
Tens of thousands of lawsuits are pending against IVC filter device companies in state and federal courts across the Nation. The lawsuits claim that these companies not only manufactured a defective product but also failed to warn doctors and patients about risks associated with the use of the device.
Several cases have already been resolved, many yielding favorable results for injured patients. Manufacturers, including C.R. Bard, Cook Medical, and Boston Scientific, have paid millions to settle disputes related to their controversial devices. Information revealed during litigation may have helped to sway the opinions of medical professionals around the country.
Alternatives to IVC Filters
IVC filters are used in patients who are at risk of developing blood clots but not good candidates for blood thinners or other medications. For years, doctors probably relied on IVC filters when they were not absolutely necessary. Now doctors seem to have a more comprehensive understanding of the risks associated with IVC filters. In turn, they seem to be searching for alternative options for high-risk patients. IVC filters may now only be used in situations where it is truly the only choice to protect a patient at risk of suffering a pulmonary embolism.
Potential alternatives to IVC filters may include:
- Intermittent pneumatic compression IPC
- Surgery, and
While these may not be the ideal choice for high-risk patients, they may be safer than defective IVC filters.