IVC Filter Lawsuit

When your doctor first recommended an IVC filter to prevent blood clots, you might have felt relieved. The procedure should have protected you from life-threatening health risk. But it turns out that IVC filters – the devices doctors sometimes implant to prevent blood clots in bedridden and immobilized patients – can be just as dangerous.

Woman laying on a bed

Hundreds of patients have sustained serious injuries from these implants. Some have even died from the complications. Now, these patients and their families are moving forward with IVC injury lawsuits against manufacturers like Bard Peripheral Vascular and Cook Medical. You, too, deserve compensation for your injury.

Console and Associates has 25 years of experience handling personal injury claims. Over that time, we’ve worked with law firms across the country, including those that handle defective IVC filter claims. If we cannot handle a claim, our goal is to connect you with an experienced attorney who can. If you suffered as a result of a defective IVC filter, call today. We’ll ask you a few questions so that we can put you in touch with the right attorney.

Was I Injured By My IVC Filter?

You should speak with a doctor if you have experienced any of the following complications:

  • Your filter migrated from its original position in the inferior vena cava
  • The filter has become impossible to remove due to migration
  • The filter has fractured or broken in some way, whether or not it migrated
  • Your filter failed to prevent a pulmonary embolism
  • The filter punctured, perforated, or otherwise damaged the inferior vena cava or other blood vessels
  • You suffered damage to the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys or another organ because of a malfunctioning or broken filter
  • You previously had to undergo surgery to have an IVC filter removed due to the complications it has caused

Any of these issues could be a sign of a potentially serious medical condition. After speaking with your doctor, speak to an attorney to learn more about your legal options.

What Do I Need To Win an IVC Filter Lawsuit in 2019

Lawsuit paperwork

One of the biggest mistakes that victims of an IVC filter injury can make is waiting too long to act. There are legal deadlines that, if you miss them, could prevent you from ever getting the IVC filter lawsuit settlement you deserve.

The attorneys we work with are familiar with the latest IVC filter lawsuit updates. Don’t waste anymore time – call today.

What Is an IVC Filter?

Even if you have an IVC filter in your body, you may not know precisely what it is or how it works.

IVC filter lawsuit

Photo CreditBozMo at the English language Wikipedia, Creative Commons license

“IVC filter” is the medical abbreviation for inferior vena cava filter. The IVC is the largest vein in the human body. Its function is to transport blood from the lower and middle body – including the legs – to the right atrium of the heart. Mayo Clinic identifies the inferior vena cava as the primary vein that connects the legs and the heart.

This filter is a type of medical device called a vascular filter. This means simply that it’s a filter used in the blood vessels. The “small, cage-like” implant, as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) describes it, is made of metal, often stainless steel or a nickel titanium alloy.

What is the Purpose of an IVC Filter?

Doctors implant IVC filters into patients’ veins to prevent dangerous blood clots from traveling through your body and potentially causing life-threatening problems.

Clotting, or clumping and solidifying, is something that your blood does naturally. It’s important because it prevents excessive bleeding. If your blood didn’t clot, then even a small papercut could cause you to bleed out – and perhaps, to die from blood loss.

But when your blood clots inside the body, it can do a great deal of damage. These semisolid clumps can travel through the veins and make their way to places within the body where they can cause serious problems.

Doctors might implant an IVC filter to treat or prevent conditions such as:

  • Pulmonary embolism (PE), a potentially deadly blockage of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), the formation of a blood clot in one of the deep veins of the legs that poses a danger of traveling to the lungs and causing PE

How Does an IVC Filter Work?

The metal cage of the IVC filter acts to trap a blood clot and prevent it from moving to the lungs or elsewhere within the body.

These medical devices aren’t only methods of treating or preventing blood clots. In fact, they may not be the best method, either. IVC filter effectiveness is the subject of some debate.

The FDA has ordered the collection of more data so that it can better evaluate IVC filter success rates. At the moment, however, very few studies have even compared IVC filter outcomes to the outcomes of patients who didn’t receive the implant.

“Whether or not their use leads to a net benefit is not known,” Medscape reported. What is becoming apparent is that these devices can pose serious health risks.

Types of IVC Filters and Manufacturers

Manufacturer building

IVC filters come in different designs made by different manufacturers. It its most recent safety communications, the FDA hasn’t singled out specific IVC filter names. Any such device has the potential to pose serious IVC filter risks.

Some of the IVC filter types on the market include:

  • Greenfield filter
  • Günther Tulip
  • Bird’s Nest filter
  • Simon Nitinol filter
  • Over-the-Wire Greenfield filter
  • Vena Tech LGM filter
  • Vena Tech LP
  • TrapEase filter

Some of the IVC filter brand names that have become the targets of IVC filter class action lawsuits include:

  • ALN Optional Retrievable Filter
  • Argon Option ELITE Retrievable Filter
  • Bard Recovery: Retrievable filter
  • Bard G2: Retrievable filter and Bard G2 Express (G2X)
  • Bard Eclipse
  • Bard Meridian
  • Bard Denali
  • Cook Celect: Retrievable filter
  • Cook Tulip: Retrievable filter
  • Cordis OPTEASE Retrievable filter

Bard IVC Filter Lawsuits

Bard has manufactured a number of IVC filter models – and several of which have been linked to IVC filter problems. For example, the Bard Denali filter was recalled in March 2015, according to the FDA. The company has also faced backlash for failing to recall other filter models – the G2, G2 Express and Recovery filters – when it allegedly knew of the potentially life-threatening complications the implants could cause, according to NBC News.

If your implant was included in the Bard IVC filter recall, you may have a claim. Even if your IVC filter by Bard hasn’t been the subject of a recall, it could still put your health at risk.

Cook IVC Filter Lawsuits

Cook Medical, too, has become the target of thousands of IVC filter class action claims and individual lawsuits. In particular, problems reportedly resulting from Cook’s Celect IVC filter and Günther Tulip filter have led patients across the U.S. to move forward with claims against the medical device manufacturer. If you think that your health suffered due to one of these medical devices, you should pursue your Cook IVC filter lawsuit now – before it’s too late.

Like many patients, you may have no idea what kind of filter doctors inserted into your body. You don’t remember the brand name or model. You may not have even been conscious to discuss the different IVC filters available at the time your doctors performed the procedure.

That’s okay. Just because you’re not sure whether you have a Cook Celect IVC filter, a Bard G2 filter, or a medical device produced by a different company doesn’t mean you can’t pursue a claim.

IVC Filter Placement

Catheter
Photo with modifications by Rashied Shote, Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons license. 

No matter the brand or model, IVC filters are placed in the body in much the same way. Doctors use thin tubes called catheters to put the implants into the inferior vena cava blood vessel in the leg.

Who Gets an IVC Filter Implant?

An IVC filter can help to prevent potentially deadly conditions such as a pulmonary embolism – but it’s not the right choice for every patient. When do doctors consider the benefits to outweigh the risks? And what happens when they’re wrong?

IVC Filter Indications
Technically, a blood clot can happen to anyone – no matter their age, overall health, or other factors. You don’t have to get sick or suffer a serious injury to become the victim of a pulmonary embolism.

However, there are certain risk factors that can make you significantly more prone to PE. One of the biggest risks is being immobile, Cleveland Clinic reported. When an injury, illness, or difficult recovery from a surgery keeps you on bed rest, your blood is more likely to pool in your legs. That’s when clots typically develop. These clots can be life-threatening if they travel to your lungs.

If you were immobile for a period of time, doctors might have felt that the benefits of taking some action to prevent a pulmonary embolism outweighed the dangers. However, due to questions about IVC filters’ effectiveness, these medical devices often aren’t the best option. In fact, medications called anticoagulants, or blood thinners, are generally the first method doctors turn to for preventing PE. These drugs cause your blood to become thinner, making it more difficult for the blood to clot.

It’s only “when anticoagulant therapy cannot be used or is ineffective,” the FDA reported, that it makes sense to insert an IVC filter implant. If for some reason the patient has a medical condition that makes it dangerous to take a blood thinner like Coumadin or Heparin, a doctor might choose an IVC filter to stop blood clots from forming and traveling to the lungs. Likewise, if the patient took blood thinners but developed clots anyway – especially recurring clots – then an IVC filter might be necessary to trap those blood clots and keep them away from the lungs.

IVC Filter Contraindications
The main contraindication, or situation in which doctors should avoid performing the procedure, is when patients are at risk of suffering a septic embolism. This is a potentially deadly condition in which a blood clot or other material infected by bacteria blocks a blood vessel.

However, just because doctors aren’t specifically cautioned against using an IVC filter in other situations doesn’t mean that these devices should be used haphazardly. Given the choice between an IVC filter and blood thinners, physicians will usually choose the blood thinners. While these drugs have side effects of their own, they won’t cause many of the problems IVC filters can, such as device migration or breakage.

IVC Filter Insertion
In the past, doctors had to perform surgery to insert an IVC filter. Today, they can perform this procedure less invasively.

They insert a catheter, a thin tube of flexible plastic, latex rubber, or silicone, into the body through a vein in the arm, neck, or groin. Doctors can then insert a compressed catheter into the tube and use the catheter to deposit the implant into the inferior vena cava.

IVC Filter Duration
How long does an IVC filter remain in the body? Until the early 2000s, IVC filters were permanent implants. Once you got one, it would stay there for years or even decades.

However, the length of time an IVC filter remains in your inferior vena cava affects your risk for complications.

Now, the FDA has concluded that the benefits of having an IVC filter remain in your body outweigh the risks for only a short period of time. The FDA recommends that doctors remove the IVC filter once the patient is no longer at risk of developing PE – if possible, between 29 and 54 days after the initial placement.

IVC Filter Removal
Even with modern retrievable implants, IVC filter retrieval isn’t easy. To remove the filter without surgery, doctors need to send a small snare through a catheter and into the inferior vena cava. They then use this snare to catch the hook of the filter and pull it back out.

In many cases, the product packaging of IVC filters includes only “minimal guidance” for how doctors should insert and remove the medical device, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. In fact, when retrievable filters first came on the market, “implanting the filter backwards” was a common mistake doctors would make, the FDA reported.

Around two-thirds of IVC filters meant to be temporary are never removed – and that can be dangerous. There’s a substantial risk of problems with IVC filters that are intended to be removed but are instead used long-term.

IVC Filter Warnings

Caution banner

When a temporary IVC filter is not removed, you could find yourself in very real danger. The longer you have a filter in place, the more the risks increase, according to the FDA.

What risks, exactly? Patients across the U.S. have filed IVC filter lawsuits after suffering severe harm due to complications from the device. Some of the most serious IVC filter dangers include:

  • Migration
  • Fracture
  • Embolization
  • Perforation
  • Device failure

These and other complications affect patients in so many ways. They cause pain severe enough to impact your daily routine. Getting the medical care you need to recover from one of these events can be exorbitantly costly. Not all of the damage is reversible. You may have to live with this injury for the rest of your life. These situations can develop into medical emergencies – and they could very well be life-threatening.

IVC Filter Migration

When your doctor placed a filter inside your inferior vena cava, he or she intended for the device to stay there. Unfortunately, that’s not always what happens.

Sometimes an IVC filter will become dislodged from the location where it was placed. This allows it to migrate, or move around, throughout your body. A migrating IVC filter can travel through the blood vessel or may even find its way to other veins and arteries.

Of course, a migrating IVC filter isn’t going to do its job of catching blood clots and protecting you from a pulmonary embolism. However, it can also cause very serious problems. The device can get stuck elsewhere in your body – causing severe harm in the process.

To remove an IVC filter that has migrated, you may need to undergo surgery. IVC filter removal surgery can be complicated or even impossible, especially if your filter has become embedded in the wall of a blood vessel or an internal organ.

In some cases, the location to which the filter has migrated puts you at such a great risk that you need to undergo emergency surgery. Otherwise, the damage the IVC filter does could prove deadly.

IVC Filter Fracture

Sometimes – through no fault of the patient – the cage-like metal structure of the IVC filter can break apart. This can pose a significant health risk. The broken metal struts may have sharp edges that can harm the organs and blood vessels around them.

Because these pieces are smaller than the whole medical device, they are able to migrate more easily – posing all the same dangers as a rogue intact filter. In fact, due to their small size, broken struts may even wind up in the space within your abdominal cavity called the retroperitoneum. If this happens, you’ll likely need to undergo an exploratory surgery so doctors can find out where the broken pieces of the filter went and retrieve them.

A faulty medical device that breaks apart inside your body, threatening your health, is the manufacturer’s responsibility.

IVC Filter Embolization

What’s more dangerous than a whole or broken IVC filter migrating around through your insides? That implant making its way to your heart or lungs.

This is called embolization, and it’s a particularly serious situation.

If an IVC filter is embedded in your heart, it’s a true medical emergency.

  • An IVC filter that interferes with the heart can affect the organ’s function. Two possible problems can include pericardial effusion, the buildup of fluid in the cavity surrounding the heart, and tamponade, pressure on the heart that prevents it from filling properly and could cause a deadly decrease in blood pressure.
  • The filter (or the broken pieces of it) can cause you to develop arrhythmia. The problem may be permanent. You will need a pacemaker to make up for the irreparable damage the IVC filter does to your heart.
  • If the filter ends up in the right atrium of the heart, you could suffer a potentially fatal heart attack.
  • When embolization isn’t corrected promptly, the filter can travel all the way into an active region of the heart. This could lead to sudden death.

Due to the grave consequences, IVC filter embolization could force you to undergo emergency surgery to remove the implant. This surgery can be expensive. Recovery can be difficult. And some of the harm IVC filter embolization can do is too serious to repair.

IVC Filter Perforation

The medical device or its broken pieces can also perforate, or puncture, the wall of the inferior vena cava. It’s alarmingly common how widespread this problem is. Perforation occurs in 40 to 95 percent of IVC filter patients studied, according to the medical journal Seminars in Interventional Radiology.

What happens when the IVC filter perforates the wall of the vein? It depends where it goes next.

  • If the filter perforates the duodenum – a part of the small intestine – you might develop diarrhea and weight loss
  • IVC filter penetration of the small bowel can require surgery to repair the damage
  • When the filter punctures a lumbar blood vessel, you may experience severe bleeding
  • An IVC filter that perforates the large blood vessel called the aorta can lead to a pseudoaneurysm. Though it’s not a true aneurysm, this condition is still severe. A ruptured pseudoaneurysm can be fatal.

IVC Filter Side Effects

As if serious complications like device migration, fracture, embolization, and perforation weren’t enough, there are numerous other risks of long-term IVC filter use.

An IVC filter infection could cause you serious harm. The increased risk of DVT isn’t a matter you should take lightly, either. Blood clots in the deep veins of the legs occur in up to 30 percent of patients who have an IVC filter implanted, the Journal of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Research reported. There’s also a risk of IVC occlusion, according to the FDA. That’s when the inferior vena cava vein becomes blocked, obstructing blood flow to the vein.

It’s always a good idea to see a doctor about any IVC filter complications symptoms you develop. Seeking medical help early can help you avoid more severe damage and a worse prognosis.

No one should live in pain because of a malfunctioning medical device. The use of IVC filters has very real consequences to the patients who undergo this surgery. When made incorrectly, these companies are putting thousands of patients at risk of infections and other serious chronic conditions.

You won’t have to pay to speak to an attorney about your claim. If they take your case you won’t have to worry about legal fees or expenses. Every law firm within our network operates on a contingency fee model. Your lawyer won’t get a dime until they win your case.