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Defective IVC Filters

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IVC Filter Lawsuit Attorneys

What Is an IVC Filter?

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are implants placed in the major vessel transferring blood from the legs to the heart. They are designed to catch blood clots before they enter the lungs, catching the clot while also allowing blood to flow around the device—meaning the clot can break down over time. IVC implants were once used to treat patients who were at risk for pulmonary embolisms and either could not take anti-coagulants or were not affected by them. They were designed to be permanent, but some were also intended to have the option for removal.

The effectiveness of IVC filters was impressive.For a time, IVC implants were an alternative to medication; however, it did not remain so. Patients reported problems with the filters—issues that could cause significant injury or death.

Complications That Can Result from IVC Placement

While there are many different brands of IVC filters, some have been linked to severe injury and death.

Some of the complications that can result from IVC placement are as follows:

  • Fracturing of the filter
  • Perforating the vessel walls
  • Embolization of filter pieces
  • Difficulty removing the filter
  • Migration (movement of the filter)
  • Puncture of vital organs

When these implants fracture, the "legs" will break off and travel to different parts of the body. Since these legs are sharp and relatively small, they have been able to pass through the body and damage the heart and lungs.

Embolization of the filter pieces is particularly horrifying, as the filter itself would be pumped into the heart, causing untold amounts of internal damage. In 2010, the FDA began recommending that all patients who had an IVC filter get them removed if their health permitted.

Long-term risks of IVC filters include the following:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Cardiac tamponade
  • Hemorrhagic pericardial effusion
  • Air embolisms
  • Infections
  • Filter clogged by blood clots

August 2010: FDA Issues Safety Communication

Unfortunately, IVC filters do not always work as promised—and they can often cause severe side effects. In 2010, the FDA released a Safety Communication. In this communication, they noted that they had received 921 device adverse event reports from these devices.

These adverse event reports included the following:

  • Device Migration – 328 Reports
  • Device Embolization – 146 Reports
  • Perforation of the Inferior Vena Cava – 70 Reports
  • Filter Fracture – 56 Reports

The FDA specifically commented on the concern that patients were receiving retrievable IVC filters that were not always being removed once the patient’s risk for pulmonary embolism had subsided. They have since advised physicians to remove the device as quickly as possible; all physicians should also carefully weigh the risks and benefits of the filters before implanting it, as well as the risks and benefits of removal.

C.R. Bard Retrievable IVC Filters

C.R. Bard manufactured some of the most common devices, including the:

  • Recovery IVC Filter
  • G2 IVC Filter
  • G2 Express IVC Filter

These devices have been linked to severe adverse side effects. For example, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2010 stated the Bard G2 IVC Filter has a 12% fracture rate, despite being marketed for “enhanced fracture resistance.”

IVC Filter Injury FAQ

What are some of the side effects of IVC filters?

If an IVC filter is defective, it may break apart and move. When an IVC filter fractures and migrates, this can cause clotting, organ perforation, infection, and even death. Patients and their families should seek legal counsel if they’ve suffered harm or lost a loved one after the implantation of an IVC filter. Manufacturers and medical professionals should be held accountable when these devices fail or are used improperly.

Why do doctors still implant IVC filters if they pose serious risks?

In spite of the potential side effects, doctors still implant IVC filters to prevent strokes and heart attacks in patients who are at risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. They are more likely to be used in patients who cannot take blood thinners. When IVC filters are used, they should be removed as soon as the patient is at a decreased risk of blood clots. Leaving them in longer than absolutely necessary can put patients at risk.

How often are IVC filters used in the United States?

Diabetes, heart disease, obesity, smoking, and our aging population are all to blame for Americans’ increased risks of pulmonary embolism, which is the primary condition IVC filters are used to manage. In fact, the average healthcare expenditure for this condition is $1.5 billion per year in the U.S. alone. As of 2019, North America accounted for 44% of the global IVC filter market. It’s expected to grow by about 80% by 2025, according to a Research and Markets article. The IVC filter market remains strong—despite the problems these devices can cause.

Talk to an Experienced IVC Filter Attorney Today: (888) 493-1629

If you or someone you love has had an IVC filter implanted and have suffered severe side effects as a result, you should not hesitate to get in touch with the skilled legal team from Arnold & Itkin LLP as soon as possible.

We have seen how these devices, which are designed to help, can cause severe harm for patients:

  • They can move (which can cause them to be ineffective or damaging to internal organs).
  • They can perforate the inferior vena cava or cause erosion to the vein.
  • They can have parts break off into the bloodstream (sometimes even damaging the heart or lungs).
  • In some cases, the physician may be unable to take out the IVC filter at all.

At Arnold & Itkin, we have recovered billions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We understand what you are going through, and we are here to help you through it.

If you would like to learn more about whether or not you have a case, we encourage you to reach out today at (888) 493-1629.

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  • $116 Million Confidential Settlement Arnold & Itkin LLP negotiated a massive nine figure settlement on behalf of their clients after several years of hard fought litigation.
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