Last Wednesday, Cruz Biomedical received FDA clearance for a vena cava filter the company’s CEO called “the first major design innovation in vena cava filters in some 40 years,” according to its press release. The vena cava filter was designed to treat patients at high risk for suffering a pulmonary embolism.
A pulmonary embolism occurs when a large blood clot makes its way into the small arteries of the lungs, where it causes labored breathing, chest pain and heart palpitations.
According to Cruz Biomedical’s press release, pulmonary embolisms strike 600,000 Americans each year and kill 200,000 of those people. Sitting for long periods without moving, taking birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin, and being confined to bed rest are all known causes.
PE patients are often treated with anticoagulant therapy; however, some patients are at high risk for internal bleeding and are unable to take anticoagulant medications like heparin and warfarin that reduce the risk of clotting. Vena cava filters serve as an alternative.
The filter stops and reverses the flow of blood clots to the lungs.
“The device’s novel helical shape was designed to self-center and to conform more closely to the shape of the vena cava, as well as to reduce bends and stress that can compromise filter integrity,” according to the company’s press release.
Cruz Biomedical encourages doctors to remove the filters once the risk for pulmonary embolism decreases in order to reduce the risk of future complications.