Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters can help prevent pulmonary embolism in patients at risk for blood clots. In fact, medical records show that more than 1 in 3 deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) patients end up with clot filters. Despite this, a July 2018 study makes a strong case that doctors should stop putting clot filters into patients. Researchers learned that clot filters cost patients more money while offering them no benefits compared to blood thinners. In fact, patients may pay much more money to get a dangerous device put into their bodies.
Study Shows IVC Clot Filters Cost More, Require Longer Hospital Stays
The 2018 study looked at 7,119 catheter-directed thrombolysis (CDT) patients. CDT treatment helps manage vascular blockages and dissolves abnormal blood clots which may lead to pulmonary embolisms (PE). This CDT treatment can take various forms — including one that uses IVC filters. Among those 7,119 patients, 34% received IVC filters. Unfortunately, the benefits did not outweigh the costs for that subject group.
There was no significant difference in hospital mortality between the IVC filter group and those treated through other means. But researchers discovered a huge difference between the two groups’ hospital costs. Those treated with IVC clot filters had higher hospital bills than patients in the non-filter group. Filter patients paid about $104,049 for their hospital stays, while the other subjects paid $92,881, on average. One reason why treatment with IVC clot filters increased their hospital costs? That group stayed in the hospital for much longer (7.3 days vs. 6.9 for the control group’s subjects).
Dr. Riyaz Bashir at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia said that overall, IVC clot filters made no difference in the group’s treatment outcomes. “In fact,” he told TCTMD, “It cost a lot of money to the healthcare system to put the filters into this subgroup of patients. Each year we would have saved $25 million just in this subgroup of patients alone. Overall, in the DVT patients, it costs us $750 million in the US to put these filters in.” Dr. Bashir adds that this cost doesn’t include removing clot filters after treatment — or the complications they often cause. What patients often don’t realize is just how dangerous IVC filters are when left in too long.
Clot Filters Cause More Complications — Including Blood Clots, Infections, Strokes & Embolisms
The July 2018 study found that cost wasn’t the only IVC filter downside for patients. Those treated with clot filters had higher hematoma rates (3.4% vs. the control group’s 2.1%). And longer hospital stays can lead to higher mortality rates and risks for infection. And that’s without factoring in the risks involved with defective filters.
IVC filters are somewhat infamous now for migrating, fracturing or breaking into tiny fragments that harm patients for years to come. If a filter device’s metal struts break off, they can perforate blood vessels and organs. They’re also known to cause heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms (which they’re meant to prevent!) and even torn arteries. This important study sheds light on clot filters’ frequent usage and higher costs, despite no measurable benefits for patients.
Dr. Bashir warns doctors to be “very, very careful putting these IVC filters in because for the vast majority of patients they are unnecessary.”
How People With IVC Filter Injuries Can Check Their Eligibility for Compensation
If you or a loved one experienced serious IVC filter side effects, you may qualify for a cash settlement. To check your claim’s eligibility online in less than two minutes, complete your free IVC filter claim evaluation now. Once you’ve answered three questions and submitted your information, an experienced advocate will call to discuss your claim. This call is free and doesn’t obligate you to file a claim if you change your mind at any time.