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IVC Filters: Society of Interventional Radiology Leads in Patient Care, Safety, Research
Date:11/28/2011

;devices inserted inside a large abdominal vein that trap large clot fragments and prevent them from traveling to the heart and lungs—are a treatment option for those individuals who can't take blood- thinning drugs or who develop clots despite medication and remain at risk for pulmonary embolism. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the use of IVC filters has grown over the years, from 167,000 in 2007 with projections to 259,000 in 2012. The majority of these filters are intended to be left in place forever; some types called retrievable IVC filters can later be removed by a doctor. The FDA has recognized that some retrievable IVC filters can fracture or migrate to other parts of the bloodstream and has urged doctors who implant filters to regularly consider the risk/benefit profile for each individual patient and to give strong consideration to removing these devices from patients who may no longer be at increased risk of pulmonary embolism.

"A Method for Following Patients With Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filters: Results and Lessons Learned From the First 1,100 Patients" illustrates the importance of the medical team's adherence to a strategy for continuing to monitor individuals and may provide a way to possibly avoid long-term complications of filter placement, note the researchers from Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Heart and Vascular Institute in Hershey, Pa.

"Because retrievable filters may need to be removed within four to six weeks of placement, after which they may become too firmly attached to the IVC to be removable, it is important that individuals remain in contact with their physicians during that time to discuss the filter's possible removal," stated Charles E. Ray Jr., M.D., Ph.D., FSIR. "The primary barriers to filter removal remain those of patient selection and losing touch during the important period of follow-up. The degree of dedication brought to this study resulted in an amazingly low
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