IVC filters are small metal “cage-like” devices with tiny spider legs to anchor them in place. The IVC filter is placed in the inferior vena cava—a large vein in the abdomen which returns blood from the lower extremities to the heart. The purpose of the IVC filter is to prevent a blood clot in the legs from reaching the heart or lungs by trapping it within the filter. IVC filters are primarily used in those patients who don’t respond to (or cannot tolerate) blood-thinning drugs, or those patients who have been in a serious accident.
Retrievable IVC filters are meant to be removed from the patient’s body once the threat of blood clot has passed, yet many of these filters are left in place indefinitely. The FDA, in two warning letters regarding the IVC filters, stated that most all retrievable IVC filters should be removed from the patient between 29 and 54 days after implantation. Unfortunately, most studies show that less than a third of all retrievable IVC filters are actually removed from patients, leading to serious IVC filter issues.
Has Your IVC Filter Been Recalled?
The Boston Scientific Greenfield IVC Filter underwent a Class 2 device recall in 2005, due to a missing taper on the delivery system’s braided sheath, which could cause vessel damage, such as a tear. In 2015, a warning letter was sent to C.R. Bard, Inc., to notify the company of facility violations, however there has not been a recall of any other IVC filters. A 2013 study detailed in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that out of 679 implanted retrievable IVC filters, only 58 were ever removed. When the filters remained in the body longer than they should, patients suffered pulmonary embolisms, venous thrombotic events, IVC perforation, IVC occlusion, filter fraction, filter migration, and difficulty removing the device.
How to Know Which IVC Filter You Have
While there are many different types of retrievable IVC filters on the market, the following brands are currently named in lawsuits:
- Bard Recovery Filter;
- Bard G2 Filter;
- Bard G2 Express Filter;
- Bard Denali;
- Bard Meridian;
- Bard Eclipse;
- Cook Select, and
- Gunther Tulip.
If you are unsure what type of retrievable IVC filter you have, the best way to proceed is to start by asking your physician. If he or she is unsure of the type of IVC filter you were implanted with, you can obtain your medical records from the hospital where you received the filter. Once you have determined the type of retrievable IVC filter you have in your body, you will want to discuss the potential safety issues with your physician, then with an experienced IVC Filter Injury Attorney. If you have suffered serious issues associated with a retrievable IVC filter, speaking to a knowledgeable IVC Filter Injury Attorney about your issues could be beneficial. A well-qualified IVC Filter Injury Lawyer can work hard to protect your rights and to pursue compensation for your injuries.