IVC Filters May Not Improve Mortality

What does the evidence show from articles in JAMA?  In an 8 year follow up study published in 2005, 400 patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) considered at high risk for a pulmonary embolism were treated and studied.  All patients were anticoagulated with heparin and half of the patients received a permanent IVC filter.

ivc filters

After two years, no significant benefit of an IVC filter was shown in terms of mortality or symptomatic pulmonary embolism.  In fact, an increase in recurrent DVT was noted in patients that received a filter.  Thus the conclusion of the study was that "because of the observed excess rate of recurrent DVT and the absence of any effect on mortality among patients receiving filters, their systemic use cannot be recommended."

These patients continued to be monitored for eight years.  Once again, the IVC filter had no survival benefit.

In a more recent study published in 2015, out of 399 patients, 193 of them received a retrievable (temporary filter) in addition to anticoagulation drugs and the other half received anticoagulation drugs alone.  153 patients had the filter removed after three months.  What were the results?  There were trends toward recurrent Pulmonary Embolism and increased mortality among patients receiving the IVC filters.

What's the upshot of these two studies?  If you can receive anticoagulation therapy, there is no hard evidence that IVC filters improve mortality and instead, filter placement may actually increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis and filter-related complications such as migration of the filter within the body or fracture of the filter.  Thus, current evidence and guidelines from the American College of Chest Physicians suggest that there is no reason for a patient to receive an IVC filter if they are eligible for anticoagulation drugs.

Therefore, if you have an IVC filter in you, and you are on anti-coagulation therapy, talk to your doctor about these studies to determine if removal of the filter is possible.  Regardless, you may be entitled to compensation if you have or had an IVC filter placed in your body.  Contact Vogelzang Law at 312-466-1669 to determine your legal rights.