IVC Filter Lawsuits
An IVC filter attorney can assist patients who suffered severe health complications after being fitted with the device. Lawsuits filed against IVC filter device makers claim that the products may be faulty and unreasonably unsafe. If device failure occurs, patients could be at risk of deadly internal bleeding, developing holes in major blood vessels or stroke. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings about using these devices, and patients have suffered severe or fatal injuries that they claim were caused by these devices. Affected patients and their families may be eligible to file a lawsuit and recover compensation with the help of a bad drug attorney.
For more information, contact Attorney Group. We offer free, confidential, no obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a case we can connect you with an affiliated IVC filter attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.
Have You Seen An IVC Filter Lawsuit Commercial?
You may have seen an IVC filter lawsuit commercial on television and wondered whether you or a loved one have been affected by an IVC filter and, if so, whether you are eligible to pursue a claim against the manufacturer or others. The purpose of this article is to provide you with additional information so that you have a better understanding of your options.
Lauren A. on May 16, 2016
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What is an IVC Filter?
As the largest vein in the body, the inferior vena cava transports deoxygenated blood to the lungs from the lower part of the body via the right atrium of the heart. A blood clot that reaches a major organ can cause serious damage, including a lethal pulmonary embolism in the lungs. To prevent this, a small, cone-shaped IVC filter may be implanted just below the kidneys in the inferior vena cava to catch blood clots and block their migration from the lower extremities to the heart or lungs.
How Does an IVC Filter Work?
IVC filters implanted into the inferior vena cava restrict where blood clots can migrate in the body. The filters are designed to prevent blood clots from forming and eliminate the risk of stroke and other life-threatening events. However, some studies indicate that shards can break off the filter and may be just as deadly as a stroke.
Without an IVC filter in position, the potential for a blood clot to cause a blockage of the pulmonary artery may be significant. The design of the filter enables it to capture an embolism that has broken free from a deep vein in the legs, stopping the clot before it reaches the lungs and heart. Blockage of one or both of the pulmonary arteries, also known as a pulmonary embolism (PE), can cause chest pain, difficulty breathing and death. Over time, the natural anticoagulants in the blood can help break up the clot.
IVC filters can be placed temporarily or remain in the body permanently, and it is important to know that positioning of an IVC filter does not prevent new embolisms. Although some devices are designed to be retrievable, removing them can be difficult and is not always successful. In some cases, retrievable filters were claimed to be safe enough for permanent implantation based on assertions that the devices were substantially similar to products already on the market. However, the FDA recommends retrieving the filter as soon as protection from a blood clot is no longer needed.
Problems with the IVC Filter
IVC filters were originally designed so that they could be removed once the threat of PE was over. In numerous instances, however, physicians have allowed the medical devices to remain in place. This may raise the chances of complications with the IVC filter. For instance, if the struts fracture, they can perforate the vena cava or worse, allow the device to migrate to other major body organs, such as the lungs or heart.
In August 2010, the FDA issued an alert about the risks of problems associated with IVC filters. The 2010 report indicated that the agency had received over 900 adverse event reports associated with the products. Of those reports, 328 indicated that the IVC filter dislodged and moved through the body, 146 noted that parts broke loose, 70 involved perforations of the inferior vena cava, and 56 showed that the filter fractured. The FDA concluded that surgeons should retrieve the IVC filters after the danger of the blood clot has passed to decrease the risk of components of the filter breaking free and traveling through the body.
Since the original safety communication was published in 2010, the FDA has updated the safety alert to include information regarding a decision analysis that was published in October 2013 in the Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders. According to the updated communication, there are no new safety concerns associated with IVC filters, however, the agency continues to encourage physicians to consider the risks and benefits of device removal.
What are the Risks of Injury?
Contraindication to anticoagulation is temporary for the majority of patients, meaning that anticoagulation should be administered after an IVC filter is placed as soon as possible. Retrievable IVC filters are suitable for patients with deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism, however, data implies their complication rate may be greater than previously recognized. Additionally, these risks intensify the longer IVC filters are allowed to remain in the body.
Prophylactic positioning of IVC filters in patients at risk of deep vein thrombosis is common. These patients should have their IVC filters removed as soon as possible to avoid preventable complications. Retrievable IVC filters should be removed as promptly as it is reasonably and safely possible. In many patients, this can be two to three weeks after anticoagulation begins. If you have an IVC filter still in place, an IVC filter lawsuit attorney can help you determine if you have a case.
IVC Filter Risks
While the method of placing the filter is quite safe, the most common problem is bleeding at the site of insertion. Major complications after placing a filter can occur if the filter breaks, fills with blood clots or migrates.
Most patients do not experience any noticeable symptoms if the filter becomes filled with blood clots, although some people do experience discomfort and leg swelling that can become dangerous and life-threatening if left untreated. If the IVC filter moves only slightly, it is usually not a problem. However, if the filter migrates to a dangerous place such as the lungs, immediate medical attention is necessary.
Warning signs that a filter has failed include chest pain and shortness of breath. In those cases, physicians advise that patients head to the emergency room for treatment as soon as possible. It is important to understand that any procedure involving skin penetration produces a risk of infection.
According to the FDA, there are a number of risks linked to IVC filters in addition to infection, including:
- An allergic reaction to the X-ray dye or local anesthetic
- Localized hematoma requiring medication or a blood transfusion
- Vein damage during the procedure
- Emergency bypass surgery or repair of the hole
- IVC filter causes formation of clots
- Shifting of the IVC filter following surgery, requiring repositioning
- Clots bypassing the filter causing pulmonary embolism
- Systemic hypotension or tachycardia.
- Injury to the neck or groin at catheter insertion point
Patients who have suffered severe side effects are encouraged to speak with an IVC filter lawyer to learn more about their rights and remedies.
Other IVC Filter Side Effects
IVC filters typically rest snugly against the walls of the inferior vena cava. However, any of the metal components of the device can break loose, migrate and work their way to the lungs or heart. The likelihood of splintering increases as the IVC filter remains in place.
A majority of adverse events in device migration occur when filters move away from where they are placed. In some circumstances, retrievable filters become adhered to the vein, preventing removal. In these cases, they are often allowed to remain in the patient’s body permanently. However, the FDA listed embolization as the most frequently reported side effect of an IVC filter. Other serious complications associated with IVC filters listed by the FDA include:
- IVC thrombosis
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Filter migration
- Access site thrombosis
- IVC filter fracture
- Device migration
- Filter penetration
- Caval migration
- Arterial hemorrhage
- Small bowel perforation
- Perforated duodenum
- Sudden death
An IVC filter lawsuit attorney can help people injured by these devices learn their rights in pursuing a claim or other legal action.
IVC Filter News
- February 2016A discovery schedule is proposed for the IVC filter MDL, which would set deadlines for the parties to gather and exchange information about the case.
- October 2015Lead Counsel for patients who claim they have been injured by IVC filters is named in the federal multi-district litigation (MDL) pending in federal court in Arizona.
- August 2015The manufacturers of retrievable IVC filters are facing numerous lawsuits claiming that the filters are associated with severe complications that places patients at risk for life-threatening consequences.
- June 2015A dozen law firms petition federal judges to consolidate about 100 lawsuits involving IVC filters into one centralized case.
- May 2015An MDL motion is filed to centralize all federal cases before one judge for coordinated proceeding over complaints with Bard IVC filers.
- April 2015The U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the exclusion of a plaintiff expert in a C.R. Bard IVC filter case.
- February 2015CR Bard, a manufacturer of IVC filters, agrees to a confidential settlement in defective products lawsuit six days prior to trial.
- October 2014Problems with IVC filter design cause many patients to suffer server complications and injuries.
- April 2014Removing an embedded IVC filter may be possible when laser sheath tissue ablation is performed to remove the adhesions holding the filter in place.
- August 2013Multiple IVC filter class action lawsuits filed against the Bard IVC filter manufacturer.
- June 2013A patient in Illinois files a lawsuit after his IVC filter migrated to his heart, requiring emergency open-heart surgery resulting in devastating complications.
- August 2012A new study finds that the IVC filter does not reduce mortality for most people who have a pulmonary embolism.
- August 2010After more than 900 reports of problems with IVC filter, FDA warns doctors to remove the filters before they break free and cause damage.
Is There an IVC Filter Class Action Lawsuit?
Class action lawsuits were filed against C.R. Bard regarding its IVC filters, which are allegedly prone to fracture and may lead to perforation of major organs such as the lungs or heart. One class action lawsuit attempted to act collectively on behalf of the individuals who were fitted with a Bard IVC filter, but who had not yet suffered an injury. The complaints sought to force Bard to pay for medical monitoring of these patients to ensure that the IVC filters had not fractured in the body as long as they remain in place.
When a court certifies a class action, an attorney can add a patient’s claim to the class action suit. However, if multiple IVC filter lawsuits are filed against the product makers alleging injuries and other damages caused by IVC filters and similar devices, these lawsuits can be consolidated into multi-district litigation (MDL) for discovery and other pretrial proceedings.
Hundreds of similar IVC filter lawsuits, including the Bard class action for medical monitoring, have been consolidated in this way in federal court and transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona for pre-trial proceedings and discovery. In a case management order issued in October 2016, the judge overseeing the federal cases indicated that bellwether trials could begin as early as fall 2017. MDLs are distinct from class actions, and it is generally agreed that consolidating cases instead of proceeding in a class action is a more efficient and effective way of handling claims arising from injuries caused by defective medical devices.
How an IVC Filter Attorney Can Help
Medical device makers have a duty to provide safe products. If there are risks of harm associated with their devices, they also must provide adequate warnings. If a device maker fails to fulfill this duty, it could be held liable in lawsuits for injuries that may result.
People injured by a defective IVC filter may be eligible to recover money for:
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
The families of those killed may be eligible to recover money for funeral expenses and the pain that comes with losing a loved one.