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Inferior vena cava filters are supposed to save lives. The spider-like devices catch blood clots before they can travel up to the lung and cause deadly pulmonary embolisms. But for over a decade, these devices have been dogged by questions about how well they work and the serious complications they can cause for patients.

The latest data make clear they’re still causing problems: Researchers examined a Food and Drug Administration database and found that adverse event reports related to the filters rose from 1,020 in 2016 to 2,842 in 2020 — which experts say is likely an undercount, and could signal either a greater awareness among patients or an uptick in complications.

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