A surgery is required to insert the IVC filter into the vein. It is typically used when the patient is not in a position to use blood thinners to reduce or avoid the blood clot. A blood clot in the lungs is called Pulmonary Embolism (PE) in medical terminology. PE is responsible for over 300,000 deaths every year.
Types of IVC Filters and Their Side Effects
In essence, two different types of IVC filters exists, which function in patients as either optional and retrievable filters, or those filters that are permanent. As the name suggests optional filters offer relatively temporary protection against blood clot reaching the lungs in contrast with the permanent IVC filter devices. These partial IVC filters are manufactured in a way so that it can be removed when it is no longer required or needed in the patient’s veins. On the downside, optional IVC filters can be responsible for complications such as organ perforation and migration of the filter. These devices are also known to damage the veins. Retrievable filters are not so effective in stopping the clot either.
The FDA has issued warnings against the usage of retrievable IVC filters citing cases that involved:
- Migration or traveling of the filter to other parts of the body
- IVC filter is broken or fractured and bits and parts of it migrate
- Perforation of the IVC filter
- The filter is embolized leading to further complications
- Perforation or damaging of internal organs and blood vessels
- PE is cured and then it comes back to clot the veins of the patients
- Product failure in IVC filters can also result into patient suffering from stroke, heart attack, or hemorrhage
The guidelines concerning IVC retrievable filters were last updated by FDA in the year 2014, with the FDA recommending that medical professionals withdraw the device between 29th and 54th day of the surgery in patients suffering from pulmonary embolisms. Another report issued by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2015 found out that blood thinners are more effective than IVC filters at preventing pulmonary embolisms.
IVC Filter Lawsuit
As discussed above, there are a lot of side effects and risks associated with the use of IVC filters to prevent pulmonary embolisms. Talk to your doctors and understand the medical report thoroughly. If you or anyone you know has suffered any side effect due to usage of IVC filter, then you are eligible for compensation, lost wages, damages, and medical expenses by filing an IVC filter lawsuit in the court.
Consulting an attorney will give you options, clarity of mind and ability to take the right decision. Most attorneys will provide you free consultation. Defective medical device makes you eligible for a claim against the manufacturer. If the device fails to function the way it was supposed to, or if there is a mistake in the instructions or a flaw in the design, then you are eligible to claim damages. Most of the IVC Filter lawsuits are fought under a contingency fee. What this means is that as a plaintiff, you need to pay your lawyer only if you are able to make a recovery and secure damages.
IVC Filter Claims and Settlements
After the FDA warnings were issued, researchers have found that out of 679 retrievable IVC filters installed, surgeons were able to remove only 58 of them. Over 921 cases have been reported to the FDA till date with respect IVC filters failures. The first lawsuits was filed against C.R. Bard in Pennsylvania and California in the year 2012, and by October 2014, there were over 100 law suits filed against C.R. Bard. Judge Richard L. Young consolidated all the cases of IVC filter against C.R. Bard into Multi District Litigation case number 2570, which is currently being resolved in the US District court in Southern District of Indiana.
According to the Lehmann report, Bard knew of the risks associated with their IVC devices, but deliberately kept it a secret and refused to recall them from circulation. To date, several lawsuits have been settled in favor of the patients.