If you have been or are currently being treated with an IVC filter, you know that the goal is to prevent blood clots from traveling to your lungs, brain, or heart that can cause strokes, heart attacks, or sudden respiratory distress. Unfortunately, numerous IVC filter risk factors make these filters potentially life-threatening. In fact, plaintiffs injured by IVC filters began filing lawsuits against several IVC filter manufacturers, with hundreds specifically suing C.R Bard and Cook Medical, makers of Cook Celect IVC filters.
How Do You Know If You’re at Risk?
IVC filters are placed into the body’s largest vein, the inferior vena cava, via a tiny incision made in the groin. Since the inferior vena cava is responsible for moving de-oxygenated blood from the legs upward to the heart and lungs, inserting an IVC filter in this particular vein should effectively prevents blood clots from reaching the lungs, heart, and possibly the brain.
While permanent IVC filters appear to be effective in preventing blood clots (especially pulmonary embolisms), retrievable IVC filters (which are removable) present a high risk of breaking apart while inside the inferior vena cava and migrating throughout the body.
IVC Filter Risk Factors
Victims of IVC filter defects have experienced serious lung and heart injuries when metallic fragments of these devices start to break off and move throughout the body. Symptoms of an IVC filter disintegrating within the body include:
- Severe and unrelenting pain
- Shortness of breath
- Chest and/or heart pain
- Pulmonary embolism
- Organ, tissue, and vessel perforation
- Internal hemorrhaging
In addition to heart, brain, and lung perforations, IVC filter failure may also cause liver perforations, severe abdominal distress, vomiting, chills, and fever. Emergency surgery is necessary to repair liver perforations and prevent permanent gastrointestinal damage.
A peer-reviewed article published in 2008 concerning IVC filter risk factors concluded that “the use of IVC filters is associated with significant complications, such as migration, filter tilting, fracture, embolization, and misplacement.” Physicians authoring the article further recommended “continuing or reinstituting anticoagulation medicine” because “IVC filter retrieval rate is less than optimal.”
FDA Alerts Regarding IVC Filter Failures
In 2010, the FDA reported receiving 921 complaints about IVC filters causing migration, perforation, fracture, and embolization injuries to people receiving them. Concerned that physicians were ignoring certain IVC filter risk factors and failing to remove filters in a timely manner, the FDA strongly recommended physicians remove filters as soon as the risk for blood clots passed.
In addition to undergoing removal of an IVC filter implant, patients must also have exploratory surgery performed to ensure filter pieces have not broken off and migrated to major organs. In some cases, it may be too dangerous to have embedded IVC filter pieces removed from vital organs. Unfortunately, these pieces must be left in the body, leaving you to cope with the possibility of experiencing life-threatening medical issues.
Have you or someone you know suffered serious health problems due to retrievable IVC filters? Did a physician neglect to remove your IVC filter even though it was no longer needed? You could be eligible for compensation from your IVC filter’s manufacturer for risking your health.
To find out if you qualify to file an IVC filter lawsuit, submit your case for a free legal review today.