IVC Filter Lawsuits
Thousands of IVC filter lawsuits have been filed by patients seeking compensation for damages due to unforeseen and/or undisclosed serious medical complications resulting from the implantation and use of IVC filters. Inferior Vena Cava filters, also known as IVC filters, have been linked to several, serious complications that injured patients are seeking damages for. If you have experienced negative side effects after receiving an IVC filter, you may be entitled to money damages to compensate you for your pain, suffering and medical expenses. Call (713) 932-0777 to learn more about filing an IVC filter lawsuit today.
What is an IVC Filter?
An IVC filter is a small, cage-like device placed into the Inferior Vena Cava, where it acts as a trap to catch blood clots before they can travel to the heart or lungs. The Inferior Vena Cava is a large vein that returns blood from the lower extremities to the heart and lungs. IVC filters are inserted using a catheter, and either an ultrasound or an x-ray machine, along with a contrast dye to monitor the placement of the filter. There are two types of IVC filters:
- Optional (Retrievable)
Permanent IVC filters have seen a high degree of success since first approved by the FDA in 1979; however, since the early 2000s, retrievable IVC filters have been an option to patients who are at a temporary risk of developing a PE.
What are IVC Filters Used For?
IVC filters are used by physicians to prevent pulmonary embolism in patients where anticoagulants (blood thinners) are not an option or ineffective. A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a potentially fatal condition in which a blood clot blocks one or more arteries in the lungs. Doctors will surgically implant the device into the inferior vena cava to trap large blood clots, preventing them from reaching the heart and lungs. Some are designed to be permanent, while others are designed to be “retrievable.” A retrievable IVC filter is one that is intended to be removed from the patent, generally 30-60 days after being implanted.
Injuries Associated with IVC Filters
IVC filters have been linked to a number of serious injuries regarding the placement, usage and removal of the device. Injuries associated with IVC filters include:
- Filter fracture
- Filter migration and embolization
- Filter perforation
- Filter thrombosis
Every IVC filter complication affects the body differently. It is important to understand the risks associated with IVC filters before having one implanted.
IVC Filter Fracture
One IVC filter study, conducted on 80 patients who underwent Bard Recovery and Bard G2 IVC filters, found an overall fracture rate of 16 percent. Pieces of fractured IVC filters are very difficult to extract from the body. Because IVC filters were originally made from titanium and stainless steel, when pieces of the device break within the IVC, the risk of migration and embolization increases if not removed immediately.
IVC Filter Migration and Embolization
According to an article published by ConsumerSafety.org, more than 50% of IVC filter complications involve migration and/or embolization of fractured filters. This is because broken pieces of the IVC filter become lodged in the wall of the vein and will sometimes tear through the vein, potentially damaging other organs.
Because newer, retrievable IVC filters are created with a variety of high-tech alloys, it is also possible for the entire filter to detach from the IVC wall and migrate. Embolization is used to describe the process of the IVC filter or its pieces moving through the body. Because IVC filter migration and/or embolization can result in internal perforation, these patients are at a higher risk for serious complications. Symptoms associated with IVC filter migration and embolization include:
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Chest pain
IVC Filter Perforation
Perforation is a complication associated with IVC filters that can occur during implementation, removal and while the device is implanted. This can be life-threatening because once the device has perforated the vessel wall, it becomes more likely to pierce tissue and organs surrounding the IVC.
IVC filter perforation can result in damage to the large and small intestine, as well as the liver and heart. According to an article published by the National Institute of Health, the incident rate for IVC filter perforation is as high as 40 to 95 percent.
While IVC filters were created to prevent blood clots from traveling to the heart or lungs, there are reports that the device caused IVC thrombosis, a subtype of DVT. If the device fractures or migrates, the displaced pieces can also cause a blood clot to form. Symptoms associated with IVC thrombosis include:
- Lower back or abdominal pain
- Painful swelling in legs
- Pulmonary Embolism
Other Injuries Associated with IVC Filters
Pain associated with IVC complications can affect the abdomen, back, heart and lungs. Other IVC filter complication symptoms include:
- Chest pains
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath
If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, consult a medical professional immediately. Patients may experience no symptoms when complications arise, which is why it is important to understand your rights if they do. Contact Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., today for a free case evaluation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. If we cannot represent you, we will help you find an attorney who will. Call (713) 932-0777 for more information.
Symptoms and Complications Associated Blood Clots
If your IVC filter fails and allows a blood clot to pass, you may experience one or more of the below symptoms and should seek emergency medical treatment at once. A blood clot that is not stopped from passing to the lungs or heart may result in:
- Severe Chest Pain
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Heart Attack
- Shortness of Breath
What Causes DVT?
Blood clotting may occur anytime the blood is moving slowly through the veins. Basically, the blood cells start to stick together and become a clot. The formation of a blood clot within a blood vessel is referred to as thrombosis. When this occurs within the deep veins, usually your legs, it is referred to as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
The National Institute of Health published in a report called Complications of Inferior Vena Caval Filters that, “Although IVC filters might decrease the incidence of PE, the risk of DVT is increased.” If a large piece of IVC filter breaks off and goes to your heart or lungs, this may be fatal. Some factors that increase a person’s risk of DVT include:
- Immobilization after a surgery or due to a medical condition
- Injury to a deep vein in the leg
- Some cancer treatments
- Congenital blood disorders that increase clotting
- Old age
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., our experienced product liability lawyers understand the factors associated with these devices. Call us to learn more about your case.
IVC Filter Attorneys
Have you or someone you know experienced severe side effects as a result of using or removing an IVC filter? If so, contact Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., today to receive a free case evaluation by an experienced product liability attorney. Call (713) 932-0777 to learn more about how an IVC filter attorney can help you.