Defective IVC Filter Litigation

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Defective IVC Filter Litigation
09.14.2015 News

The inferior vena cava (IVC) is the vessel that returns blood to the heart and lungs from the lower half of the body. IVC filters are umbrella-shaped devices with legs that ostensibly have been designed to stop blood clots from migrating from the lower areas of the body to the heart or lungs. IVC filters were developed for patients who are at risk for developing life-threatening pulmonary embolisms. Among the most likely IVC filter candidates are trauma victims, who are at risk for developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or those who have recently undergone surgery and perhaps have a history of blood clots. 

Unfortunately, through their use and additional research, it has been found that IVC filters can sometimes fail, resulting in the device, or pieces of the device, migrating to the heart or lungs. There also have been cases in which these devices have shifted within the patient's body, including some areas that are unreachable by surgery. When any of these things happens the potential for serious injury is great, and these injuries can be fatal.

How Widespread Are The IVC Filter Side Effects

Over the past ten years, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has received more than 1,000 adverse event reports directly related to IVC filters, including those manufactured by Bard, as well as those manufactured by Cook. Among these incidents include more than 325 involving migration of the device and more than 145 in which components of the IVC filter became detached. In addition, 70 cases have involved perforation of the IVC itself. There have been numerous reports of infections, hematoma or nerve injury, constant severe pain and serious heart and lung problems.

In addition, several studies have served to confirm the medical device problems. In one study that took place between 2004 and 2009, a total of 80 people who had been implanted with Bard IVC filters were given a fluoroscopy to determine whether or not the filter was intact, or if it was broken. In that study, they found that the fracture rates for the filters were 25 percent with first generation devices, with second generation devices seeing a 12 percent fracture rate. They found that, in two cases the filters inhibited blood flow, while one had migrated to the liver and another to the lungs.

Back in 2010, the FDA issued a warning to physicians against leaving the filters implanted for extended periods because of the potential of migration and the resulting health problems. They warned that IVC filters are for short-term use for patients at risk for pulmonary embolism, and that physicians who implant them should remove them as soon as the risk has subsided, in order to avoid further problems and patient injury.

Among the warning signs that patients who have been fitted with an IVC filter are being asked to look out for as a sign that their device has failed include hemorrhage, severe chest pain, excess anxiety, breathing problems, or perforation of blood vessels, organs or tissues.

Blizzard Law Now Accepting IVC Filter Claims

The Medical Device Litigation Group at Blizzard Law PLLC is highly experienced in this type of litigation, and we have been at the forefront of IVC filter litigation. If you or a loved one have seen serious complications as a result of being fitted with an IVC filter, please contact us immediately, so that we can evaluate your situation and see if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and illness.