IVC Filters: Canadian Government Warns of Serious Safety Complications

Health Canada, their nation’s equivalent of the U.S. FDA, issued an advisory statement last month to health professionals communicating concerns of serious safety complications involving IVC filters, including puncturing the vein and blood clots.

The filter can also fracture, leading to blockage of the vein by filter fragments, fragment migration to the heart, and puncture or other damage to the heart. All of these conditions can potentially lead to death.

Health Canada found no added benefit of implanting filters in patients responding well to anticoagulation (blood thinner) medications. Additionally, health professionals are advised to remove any of the retrievable filters once the patient can be successfully treated with blood thinner medications or once the patient’s risk of blood clots decreases. Based on these findings, Health Canada now requires manufacturers to collect post-market data on these filters to better understand the filters’ risks.