IVC filters are small, spider-like devices which are surgically inserted into the inferior vena cava to prevent blood clots from reaching the lungs. But these devices can suffer from fatigue, causing them to fail and fracture, ultimately migrating through the body causing damage which could be life-threatening. Complications due to a failure of an IVC filter can include pulmonary embolus, severe and constant pain in the chest, heart or other parts of the body, respiratory distress, tissue perforation, organ perforation, vessel perforation, and hemorrhage.
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However, as NBC Nightly News reports, the CR Bard IVC Recovery Filter has higher rates of death, filter fracture and filter movement than any of its competitors, and despite being aware of potential product defects, the company has not recalled the device.
In May 2014, the Food and Drug Administration warned doctors regarding the filters, stating they should be removed from patients within one to two months after the risk of a pulmonary embolism has passed. The FDA noted that many doctors were not adequately warned about the importance of removing the devices.