In the last few years, inferior vena cava filters (“IVC filters“) have been the subject of more than 1,000 lawsuits because patients have suffered severe complications. Here are the important things you need to know:
- Background: IVC filters are used to prevent blood cots in patients. IVC filters are placed in the inferior vena cava, which is a person’s largest vein. If there is a blood clot, the filter is supposed to stop the clot from moving into the lungs or heart. IVC filters look like the frame of an umbrella (or if you are not squeamish, a spider).
- Manufacturers: most allegations concern C.R. Bard and Cook Medical IVC filters. C.R. Bard makes the following filters: Recovery, G2, and G2 express. Cook Medical makes the Celect and Gunther Tulip filers.
- The Problem: while a filter’s purpose is to stop a blood clot from traveling through the body, the filter itself may break and move in the body. The filters are known to fracture, where a arm or tentacle of the filter breaks, and then moves down the vein. Filters themselves may also move within the vein and into other parts of the body even if they do not break into parts. According to medical journals, in almost 30-40% of filters will break within the first 5.5 years.
- The Danger: the obvious problem is that if the filter breaks, it will do the same harm (or worse) than the harm it is supposed to prevent — instead of the IVC filter preventing a blood clot from moving through the body, the IVC filter itself will fracture and be able to move through the body, to places including the heart and lungs. Some doctors and medical professionals refer to the IVC moving in the body as a “device migration.” When the IVC filter moves or migrates it can puncture vital organs, travel to the brain causing a stroke or heart attack, and stop blood flow.
- What You Should Look For: when an IVC filter or one of its parts that has broken off and moved to the heart or lungs, patients can expert to have shortness of breath, chest pain, trouble taking deep breaths, confusion, light-headedness, nausea, and an irregular heart beat. In the most dangerous and serious instances, an IVC filter can cause death, paralysis, bleedings, stroke, or heart attack.
- What Are The Manufacturers Doing? There have actually been allegations made by lawyers and patients that the manufactures have hid testing results that showed this problem was likely to happen and have even forged documents to government agencies, including the FDA.
- Can Your Filter Be Removed? Maybe. There are two kinds of IVC filters – permanent filters and temporary/removable filters. There have been problems with removing both types of these filters, even the ones that are supposedly removable. You should speak to your doctor about the best choice for you.
Legal Options: if you or a loved one have been injured because of an IVC filter, there are legal options that you should consider. In 2015, a judicial panel essentially took many of the IVC filter cases and consolidated them in front of one judge — this is called an “MDL.” The reason for an MDL is efficiency.
The Rafi Law Firm helps people injured by medical devices and pharmaceutical devices, like IVF filters. Mike Rafi formerly defended some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, including Johnson & Johnson, when he worked at a top international law firm. Call our office to learn about your legal rights.