IVC filters are medical devices designed to prevent blood clots. IVC filters are most commonly implanted in patients diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolus, trauma victims, immobile patients, and patients at risk for clotting that have recently had a surgical procedure or will soon have one.
Common IVC Filter Devices
- ALN Implants Recoverable ALN filter
- Angiotech Option Vena Cava Filter
- B. Braun Vena Tech Filters
- Boston Scientific Greenfield Filter
- Bard IVC Filters, including the Bard Recovery filter, Bard G2 filter, Simon Nitinol Filter, and the Bard G2 Express filter
- Cook Medical Celect Vena Cava Filter
- Cook Medical Gunther Tulip Filter
- Cordis Johnson & Johnson TrapEase and Optease
- Crux Biomedical Vena Cava Filter
- Gianturco-Roehm Bird’s Nest Vena Cava Filter
- Gunther Basket Filter
- Rafael Medical Technologies SafeFlo Vena Cava Filter
- Recovery Nitinol Filter
The filters are designed to be placed for a limited period of time; however, many are implanted in emergency rooms and the surgeons will not see their patients again, increasing the likelihood that an IVC filter will remain in place for too long. This is dangerous because the likelihood of device failure increases the longer the device remains in the body. Additionally, the filters can only be removed successfully in about half of cases. Many people have suffered through multiple surgeries to correct problems with this device.
Implanted IVC filters have a high rate of fracture and other serious side effects. In fact, one out of four IVC Filters fracture, potentially causing death. When a filter fractures, it is carried away by the blood stream into the heart or lungs. The FDA warns that IVC filters left in patients have a high risk of severe, life-threatening injuries. A study conducted by the New England Society for Vascular Surgery noted a 31% fracture rate in IVC filters. Most of the splinters found their way to patients’ right ventricles of the heart.
IVC Filter Side Effects
- Blood clots may clog the filter, slowing blood flow into the lungs
- Compromised respiration
- Device erosion
- Filter migration
- Filter fracture
- Filter perforation
- Perforation of the inferior vena cava, heart, lungs, and/or other organs
- Permanent implantation where the device cannot be removed
- The inability to retrieve the IVC Filter
- Tilting of the IVC Filter
An estimated 49,000 IVC filters have been placed annually in the United States since 2005, which means that 343,000 people may have these medical devices inside of their bodies. The FDA issued a warning on August 9, 2010 against leaving IVC filters in for extended periods of time. A 2012 study revealed that the rate of filter fracture increased with the amount of time the implant was in the patient’s body. Although portions of the filter can be removed, the spider-like legs (or “struts”) often fracture and move to a position where retrieval is impossible.
Blizzard & Nabers LLP: IVC Filter Attorneys
At Blizzard & Nabers LLP, we have years of experience handling medical device litigation. We have the years of experience and specialized knowledge required to fight for your rights. If you or someone you know may have developed complications due to an IVC filter, please contact our offices at (800) 349-0127 for a free case evaluation.