For years, the FDA warned consumers about serious side effects for patients getting inferior vena cava (IVC) filters. But the scary thing about IVC filters is that it can be hard to know if you’re experiencing complications. Most patients don’t worry about their IVC filters until the damage is already done. By the time warning signs show up, it may be too late to surgically remove the entire device. Fortunately, you’ll notice certain signs when your IVC filter device tilts, migrates or fractures into small metal pieces. The Greenfield filter is one popular brand which can be extremely dangerous if the device proves faulty and isn’t removed.
What Greenfield Filter Side Effects Should You Worry About?
If you experience any of the following Greenfield filter side effects, you may have a faulty device you need to remove:
- Shortness of breath
- Blood clots
- Localized back/leg pain
While these are the most common signs your IVC filter traveled through your body, others are possible — and potentially deadly. If you experience these signs, contact your doctor or surgeon immediately:
- Chest/neck pain
- Irregular heartbeat
These symptoms may indicate a metal shard broke off and pierced your heart, a major artery or other internal organ. If left untreated, you could suffer a stroke, heart attack or heart failure.
When Should Your Surgeon Remove Your Greenfield Filter?
Nearly 75% of all IVC filters placed today are retrievable and should stay in your body no more than 60 days. If you still have your Greenfield filter after your DVT or PE risk passes, look into scheduling surgical removal. Leaving a Greenfield filter in for too long can cause a pulmonary embolism — the same complication it should prevent.
Dr. Gerald W. Smetana says, “recurrent PE is more likely the longer a patient has an IVC filter.” But why? He attributes it to the “development of collateral veins in the abdomen that allow a clot to bypass the filter.” Leaving your filter in too long can also cause blood clot-related complications, like perforating your inferior vena cava or duodenum.
Internal Puncture Wound Risks Can Vary For Different IVC Filter Brands
Surgeons commonly implant Greenfield IVC filters to prevent DVT and PE in at-risk patients. However, many other IVC filter brands are just as dangerous (and these devices aren’t the same thing as a stent). The annual Midwestern Vascular Surgical Society meeting analyzed 262 patients that received IVC filters. That analysis found that about 46% of filters placed in patients eventually pierced through the inferior vena cava and nearby organs.
Surgeons conducting this analysis also used a grading system to rate how severely the filter penetrated internal tissues and organs:
- 0 Grade Penetration = IVC filter looks normal and is completely confined by the inferior vena cava wall, as expected
- 1 Grade Penetration = IVC filter strut (metal leg) is pushing against the inferior vena cava wall hard enough to eventually poke through it
- 2 Grade Penetration = IVC filter strut pokes completely through a hole in the inferior vena cava wall and pushing into surrounding body cavity
- 3 Grade Penetration = IVC filter’s strut is entirely out of your inferior vena cava and pushing into a nearby internal organ
The analysis found Grade 2-3 level penetrations present in patients with the following IVC filter brands:
- Tulip filter — 44.6% of patients had penetration injuries
- Celect filter — 74.4% of patients had penetration injuries
- Greenfield filter — 5.3% of patients had penetration injuries
- OptEase filter — 0% of patients had penetration injuries
IVC filters penetrating other organs or sticking outside the IVC wall can cause serious complications if doctors don’t remove them. Greenfield filters are dangerous if left in too long, but other filter brands can cause even more internal puncture wounds.
How To Get Justice and Compensation
If you or a loved one suffered complications after Greenfield filter placement, you may qualify for a cash settlement. To check your eligibility for compensation, fill out your free IVC filter claim evaluation form today. It takes less than two minutes to answer just a few quick questions online, and you’ll see your results immediately. Once you’ve submitted your information, an experienced advocate will call to help you get the compensation and justice you deserve.
Related: Vena Cava Filter Removal Improves Patient Outcomes, Says Study
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.