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Deciding if an IVC filter is right for you

Inferior vena cava filters, or IVCs, are a small tool that is inserted into the inferior vena cava in order to filter the blood and catch potential clots. However, these filters can come with a slew of problems and side effects. This makes it important for patients to understand and weigh the risks of these devices against their potential benefit.

PulmCCM states that the actual benefits of an IVC filter are “debatable”, and that they might actually do more harm than good. In short, though IVC filters are a common practice in medical communities, there is actually not much backing up their success rates. Evidence is primarily based on one study that is almost 20 years old. This study shows that pulmonary emboli risks are reduced after 12 days, but that the threat of deep venous thrombosis actually increases by 10% in return. Additionally, it is common practice to leave temporary IVC filters in past their prime, resulting in pieces breaking off which can cause harm.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine also has a study on IVC insertion and its controversial aspects. People who get an IVC filter are subject to problems that are not common, but can be dangerous if they do occur. This includes the aforementioned issues of recurrent deep venous thrombosis and complications with the device itself. In comparison, anticoagulation is considered a safer measure that brings about just as many results, though there are some people who cannot use this treatment due to other health risks.

In the end, a person should take their own health situation into consideration. They should always get the counsel of their primary care physician before making a final decision.

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