Inferior Vena cava (IVC) filters, designed to keep blood clots from traveling to the heart or lungs, have been manufactured by companies such as Bard, Rex and Argon Medical, Cook Medical, and Cortis Medical. These IVC filters are under great scrutiny by medical professionals who have called them “ticking time bombs” because of the potential for patient injury. If you or someone you love had a medical condition that required an IVC filter, it’s important to understand the potential problems with this product, the risks it poses, and how an attorney can help if you’ve been injured.
What Is an IVC Filter?
Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1979, the IVC filter is a small metal device designed to prevent blood clots that could cause a pulmonary embolism. This medical device appears similar to an umbrella’s metal skeleton and is inserted into the inferior vena cava, supporting the opening. Because its design resembles a retractable umbrella, it is marketed as retrievable—that is, a doctor could close the spokes and remove the device through the vein.
The FDA’s Safety Warning
After reports of adverse events, the FDA communicated concern about IVC filters in 2014. The FDA recommends that:
- Doctors use this device only when needed, making sure to remove the filter as soon as the patient no longer needs it for the prevention of a pulmonary embolism.
- Doctors and patients weigh risks and benefits carefully to ensure that the patient fully understands the potential for injury.
IVC Filters Pose Serious Risks
Some companies used a cheaper, weaker material in manufacturing, so they could market the device as removable. This decision led to a high failure rate of devices related to:
- Device migration
- Device fracture
- Device embolization
It’s possible that the longer these devices are left inside the body, the more likely it is that one of these events may occur—which could lead to more serious, long-term side effects in addition to the risk for pulmonary embolism, including:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) of the lower limbs: a coagulation of blood in a vein
- IVC occlusion: a blockage near the implantation site
An Attorney Can Provide Guidance
If you or someone you love suffered injuries from a defective IVC filter, it’s important to seek the help of an attorney. The experienced attorneys at the Holton Law Firm can help you recover for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages after your injury. To start a conversation about your case, fill out our online contact form today.