All posts by Chris Powell

How to join the IVC filter litigation at no cost to you

Many patients who received a retrievable IVC filter to reduce their risk of blood clots and pulmonary embolism are pursing financial compensation from C.R. Bard, Cook Medical, and other IVC filter device makers for serious and potentially life-threatening side effects.

If you have received an IVC filter that was meant to be retrieved, but has not, or if you believe you have been harmed by alleged IVC filter side effects, you too may be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

The IVC filter litigation is still in its early stages, and our product liability attorneys are investigating new claims on behalf of injured individuals every day, but it’s important to note that there is a statute of limitations in place for each state, a law that regulates the amount of time an individual has to pursue compensation for injuries from a medical product.

Why are lawsuits being filed against some makers of IVC filter devices

Hundreds of product liability lawsuits have already been brought against IVC filter manufacturers C.R. Bard and Cook Medical, alleging negligence, design defects, failure to warn, manufacturing defects, negligent misrepresentation and breach of implied warranty on the part of the medical device makers. In February 2015, just 10 days after trial began, C.R. Bard settled a product liability lawsuit filed by an IVC filter recipient who alleged that the Bard Recovery filter broke inside his body. According to allegations raised in the IVC filter lawsuit, one of the filter struts, or legs, became separated from the device and traveled to his heart, perforating it. He subsequently required open heart surgery, after which he underwent a lengthy recovery.

It has been determined that inferior vena cava filters manufactured by C.R. Bard, Cook Medical and some other device IVC filter device companies may be defectively designed, and may expose patients to an unnecessary risk of serious side effects and in many cases actually have very little benefit to the recipients. Common complications include device fracture, perforation of the inferior vena cava, migration of the filter to other parts of the body and the filters being deemed difficult, impossible or dangerous to remove. In many cases it has been theorized that any retrievable device left in place longer than approximately 50 days is at serious risk for these complications and the longer they are left in the more dangerous they become.

How are IVC filters intended to work?

Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are medical devices surgically inserted in the inferior vena cava – the largest vein in the body – to capture blood clots and prevent them from traveling to the heart and lungs and causing a pulmonary embolism (PE). IVC filters are often used in patients who are unable to take anticoagulant medications due to an adverse reaction or uncontrollable bleeding event, or for patients who have suffered recurrent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) while taking a blood-thinning medication. Retrievable IVC filters are designed to provide short-term protection against blood clots and pulmonary embolism, and are intended to be removed once the risk of PE has subsided.

FDA warnings for IVC filter recipients

Although retrievable IVC filters were developed in response to concerns about the long-term complications of permanent blood clot filters, which aren’t designed to be removed at all, the temporary filters have been linked to their fair share of problems, like damaging veins and migrating out of position after implantation. According to a 2010 safety announcement issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency had received 921 reports of adverse events involving IVC filters from 2005 to 2010, including 328 reports of device migration, 146 reports of embolization, 70 reports of vena cava perforation, and 56 reports of filter fracture.

According to the FDA’s safety alert, the agency “is concerned that retrievable IVC filters, intended for short-term placement, are not always removed once a patient’s risk for PE subsides.” The FDA also indicated that “known long term risks associated with IVC filters include but are not limited to lower limb deep vein thrombosis (DVT), filter fracture, filter migration, filter embolization and IVC perforation. In 2014, the FDA issued another IVC filter safety communication, this time advising that “implanting physicians and clinicians responsible for the ongoing care of patients with retrievable IVC filters consider removing the filter as soon as protection from pulmonary embolism is no longer needed.”

We can help you qualify for free legal representation from an expert IVC filter injury attorney

Some attorneys representing potential claimants in the IVC filter litigation offer free confidential consultations, which means you can discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer for fee, before you decide whether to move forward with your claim, and we can also generally connect you with a firm that operates on a contingency basis, which means only if you successfully recover damages from the medical device maker will your lawyer get paid. These cases are unique from class action cases in the sense that the plaintiff and not the attorney gets the majority of the winnings when there is a verdict or settlement in their favor. If you received an IVC filter in the past, and you have since suffered complications like filter migration, filter fracture, perforation of the inferior vena cava, or the IVC filter simply has not been removed within the appropriate amount of time, please contact us today at 877-959-1042 or by completing the form on this page to connect with an experienced IVC filter injury lawyer for legal assistance.

Permanent Versus Retrievable IVC Filters

There are two types of inferior vena cava filters: permanent and retrievable. Both filters are implanted using a catheter that is inserted through the skin in a large vein in the groin or neck and then advanced to the inferior vena cava in the abdomen, but the main difference between the two is that retrievable filters are designed for short-term protection, and are meant to be removed once the risk of pulmonary embolism has subsided. The most dangerous complications stemming from retrievable IVC filters occur when the devices are left in place for long periods of time, even after protection from pulmonary embolism is no longer needed.

Common IVC Filter Uses

Although anticoagulant therapy is typically the first line of defense for blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, IVC filters may be a more appropriate treatment option for patients who have experienced recurrent DVTs while taking blood thinners, or for those who are unable to tolerate anticoagulant medications due to an adverse reaction, trauma, bleeding or recent surgery. Because of concerns over the long-term complications of permanent IVC filters, medical device makers began developing temporary filters, which are very similar in appearance to permanent filters, but which are designed to be removed once the risk of pulmonary embolism has subsided.

Potential Side Effects of IVC Filters

Despite their supposed improved safety profile over permanent filters, research has shown that removable IVC filters carry their own risk of serious side effects, including device migration, filter fracture, perforation of the inferior vena cava, and embolization of the device to the heart and lungs. In light of the potential for retrievable blood clot filters to cause severe and potentially life-threatening complications in users, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication in 2010, highlighting more than 900 adverse event reports submitted to the agency in connection with removable IVC filters during the previous five years. The FDA updated its safety alert in 2014, recommending that temporary IVC filters be removed within one to two months after being implanted, to reduce the risk of device complications.

A number of studies have confirmed the FDA’s blood clot filter warnings, and one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2013 analyzed the failure rate of temporary IVC filters in 978 patients, indicating that when the filters remained in place longer than medically necessary, 18.3% of retrieval attempts failed and 7.8% of patients experienced venous thrombotic events, including 25 pulmonary emboli, all with the IVC filter in place. Some of the temporary IVC filters that have shown a potential to cause serious complications in users include C.R. Bard’s Recovery, G2, and G2 Express filters, which one study linked to a combined 12% rate of filter fracture side effects, and Cook Medical’s Gunther Tulip and Celect filters, which research has shown may be prone to migration and perforation complications.

IVC Filter Adverse Event Reports

IVC filter devices have been implicated in a growing number of reports of injuries and fatalities in recent years, and many patients who have suffered serious complications after being implanted with a blood clot filter are now filing lawsuits against the medical device makers, alleging that the companies intentionally withheld information about IVC filter side effects from consumers, medical professionals and the FDA, which is not only deceitful, but illegal. For patients presented with IVC filter treatment as a means of reducing their risk of blood clots or pulmonary embolism, it is extremely important to understand the different types of filters currently on the market and what risks they may pose for users.

Defective IVC Filters May Malfunction, Become Difficult to Remove

Product liability lawsuits over IVC filter migration and other complications continue to mount, and many of the complaints involve problems where the IVC filter migrated out of position and became embedded in internal organs, causing serious medical problems and making it difficult or impossible for the filter to be safely removed. If you have a defective IVC filter that has migrated out of position and cannot be removed, contact our knowledgeable product liability lawyers today to discuss the possibility of filing an IVC filter lawsuit against the device manufacturing company.

Filters May Become Embedded in Organs

Growing concerns have been raised recently about the safety and effectiveness of retrievable IVC filters, and according to allegations raised in recent product liability lawsuits, defective blood clot filters may become embedded inside patients’ internal organs, causing them to require surgery or adjunctive techniques to remove the filter. However, in some cases, doctors may be unable to retrieve the blood clot filter, which means the patient may face a continuing risk of problems from the device, including the potential for life-threatening side effects and the need for ongoing medical care to ensure the filter does not cause further injury.

Possible Side Effects of IVC Filters

IVC (inferior vena cava) filters are small, cage-like medical devices that doctors surgically insert into the inferior vena cava, a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood into the heart, to trap blood clots and prevent them from traveling to the heart or lungs. By doing so, IVC filters can reduce the risk of stroke and pulmonary embolism in patients with a heart condition called atrial fibrillation, which causes poor blood flow and can increase the risk of stroke. Unfortunately, a growing body of research has shown that IVC filters may be prone to failure, occurring when the filters migrate out of position, fracture, perforate the vena cava, or embolize to the heart.

Removing Retrievable Blood Clot Filters

One of the most serious complications of IVC filters occurs when the devices cannot be safely removed. In one new 10-year study published in the medical journal Pediatric Radiology in January 2016, researchers from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that it may be difficult for doctors to remove IVC filters from children, particularly when the filters tilt out of position or become embedded in internal organs. According to the researchers, a significant percentage of children involved in the study required adjunctive techniques to retrieve the IVC filters, often because the device had migrated out of its original position in the inferior vena cava. Adults, too, may face the risk of their blood clot filters being difficult or impossible to remove.

IVC Filter Warnings from the FDA

Although IVC filters first entered the market in 1979, it wasn’t until 2010, when the FDA issued its first warning about possible side effects of IVC filters, that the litigation over blood clot filter complications began to emerge. According to that FDA safety announcement, the agency had received more than 900 reports of adverse events linked to IVC filters like C.R. Bard’s Recovery filter, including 328 reports of filter migration, 146 reports of filter components breaking loose, 70 reports of vena cava perforation, and 56 reports of filter fracture. In 2014, the FDA issued another warning, this time advising doctors to remove retrievable IVC filters within one to two months after they are implanted, as long as the risk of pulmonary embolism has subsided.

Our IVC Filter Injury Lawyers Can Help

In the federal court system, there are currently several hundred lawsuits pending against C.R. Bard and Cook Medical over complications from the Recovery, G2, Celect and Gunther Tulip blood clot filters. If you believe you have been adversely affected by alleged IVC filter side effects, including instances where the filter cannot be removed by doctors, consult our experienced IVC filter injury lawyers today to discuss your possible compensation options. With a reputable product liability attorney on your side, you can protect your legal rights and seek fair and timely reimbursement for your losses.