When Jesse K. was in a car accident, Luther Hospital in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, implanted an Option ELITE Retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filter on Dec. 7, 2015, even though he did not have a blood clot.
An IVC filter is a device that resembles a spider, inserted into the largest vein in the body, the vena cava. It is designed to catch blood clots before they enter the heart or lungs causing pulmonary embolism. Some IVC filters are designed to stay in the body permanently and others are made to be temporary, or retrievable.
Retrievable IVC filters are recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be removed after 29 to 54 days. Because the temporary filters are made with a more fragile construction, the risk of tilting, fracturing, perforating and migrating is very high. Unfortunately, some patients are reporting that attempts to remove their retrievable IVC filters are failing.
Three and a half months after he left the hospital, when Jesse returned to have the filter removed, the device was found to be tilted, with the retrieval hook embedded in the wall of the vein. Less than two weeks later, Jesse saw another doctor, who attempted to remove the filter. The doctor use a method called the “hangman” technique, which hooks a wire loop between the neck of the filter and the wall of the vein, and can be successful in pulling out an embedded hook. In this case, the attempt was unsuccessful because the hook was embedded so deeply.
During the procedure, however, the doctor noticed that a filter leg was bent, which compromises the structure and could result in fracture, sending the rogue metal pin-like leg through the body, potentially impaling vital organs, piercing the heart, or lodging in the lung.
A little more than a month later, a CT scan revealed the filter hook had now pierced through the wall of the vein and was nearly puncturing the kidney. When the doctor attempted Jesse’s third retrieval attempt, he went through the internal jugular and the common femoral vein. The retrieval attempt resulted in another failure.
The filter was rendered irretrievable, and Jesse will now have to live with the life-long fear of the filter potentially injuring him or taking his life. He immediately filed a lawsuit against Rex Medical, the manufacturer of the IVC filter.
The lawsuit reads, “[CT scan] showed that the nose of the filter is extending significantly outside the lumen of the vein. It also showed that the filter is extending horizontally to the right, close to the renal capsula.”
Source: Daily Hornet