Articles Tagged with pulmonary embolism

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IVC Filter StudyPeople who get medical implants don’t do so out of boredom. They get the surgery because they have a serious medical problem or they want to prevent one. Many of these implants have benefits for patients while some, in addition to doing some good, also can do great harm. The Cook IVC filter may be a medical implant that not only may do you no good but can also do great harm, according to a recent study published in the medical journal Annals of Surgery.

What is a Cook IVC filter?

The Cook IVC filter is a wire device that looks like a cone shaped net. It is manufactured by Cook Group, Inc. The IVC filters are surgically inserted into a major vein, the inferior vena cava (IVC), of a patient who is at risk for a pulmonary embolism (or PE, a blood clot that passes into a lung, which can be fatal). The filter is supposed to trap or break up blood clots coming from the lower or middle part of the body. On first look it appears to be a great idea. But many medical emergencies have resulted from implantation of these IVC filters.

Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed by those injured by Cook IVC filters and by the families of people who died because of them. The filters are often in patients too long; they can break up (with pieces going into the heart or lungs) or the entire filter can be pushed up near or into the heart, causing death or injuries.

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Inferior Vena Cava Filter

I have to say, this one looks a little terrifying. Check out the photo to the right. This is an IVC filter. As with most things, when you first learn what the object is and what it is intended to be used for, you should think “Brilliant! What took so long to invent this thing?” The problem is, the IVC filter can move, turn, or break apart inside a blood vessel, causing all kinds of problems, including death of the patient. So let’s take a look at the product and the lawsuits that have resulted from the medical device.

What Is IVC?

IVC is the acronym for “inferior vena cava,” which is the primary vein running from your lower body to your heart and which carries deoxygenated blood. (And just for completeness, the superior vena cava is the large vein carrying deoxygenated blood from the upper body to the heart.) The vena cava veins move this deoxygenated blood into the right atrium of the heart, where it can be oxygenated and sent back out into the body. Obviously the IVC is a vitally important vein inside the body, and when problems occur they can become serious and even life-threatening.

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