Every year, tens of thousands of patients in the US receive Inferior Vena Cava Filter (IVC FILTER) implants. These implants prevent blood clots from traveling to a patient’s lungs and causing pulmonary embolism. They are intended for short-term use only, however, manufacturers are aware that many people who receive IVC Filter implants never have them removed, which can result in severe complication and even the death of the patient.
If you or a loved one has had an IVC filter implanted and has suffered serious complications or injuries related to the filter, you should seek legal advice to determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.
The Danger Posed By IVC Filters
A retrievable IVC Filter, which is shaped like a spider with multiple legs, is inserted into your Inferior Vena Cava––one of the main blood vessel returning blood to your heart––to prevent blood clots from traveling through the bloodstream to your lungs and causing pulmonary embolism. They are only meant to be inserted temporarily, but are often left inside the blood vessel indefinitely, which exposes the patient to blood clots, internal bleeding, and other life-threatening complications.
Studies have shown that IVC Filters that go unremoved for long periods of time can lead to severe and sometimes fatal injuries including:
- Punctured blood vessels
- Perforated organs
- Increased risk of blood clots
One study showed that an IVC Filter from a particular manufacturer consistently fractures after five and half years. When the device fractures, it can travel through the bloodstream and puncture an organ or another vital part of the body.
Another study showed that an IVC filter from a different manufacturer perforates the Inferior Vena Cava only 71 days after being inserted. Perforation of the Inferior Vena Cava can lead to severe complications such as internal bleeding.
On two separate occasions, once in 2010 and again in 2014, the FDA announced that it had received reports of adverse events and problems associated with IVC filters. In fact, the FDA even noted that some events lead to adverse clinical outcomes including severe injuries and even death.
In response to these reports, the FDA recommended the removal of IVC filters after the risk of blood clots has subsided, which is usually 1-3 months after they are implanted. But despite these recommendations, the manufacturers of IVC Filters continue to tell physicians that their removal is optional.
Medical device manufacturers have a legal duty to ensure the safety of their products. In addition, the have a responsibility to monitor developments concerning the use of their products and properly warn patients and physicians of any new risks found to be associated with a particular device. When they fail to adequately inform the public of any new safety concerns or recommendations regarding their products or devices, they may be held liable for any harm that you suffer as a result.
Contact an Experienced Defective Medical Device Attorney
If you or someone you know has experienced complication due to an IVC filter, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Contact an experienced defective medical device attorney for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and to discuss your options.