Concerns continue to grow regarding IVC filter safety concerns. These devices have been implanted in several thousand patients across the United States, who suffered from complications from blood clots. Known as inferior vena cava filters, these medical devices were designed to reduce the risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and blood clots. Unfortunately, studies show these IVC filters which are meant to reduce blood clots and death, come with their own set of serious IVC filter problems.
What are IVC Filters?
IVC filters are medical devices shaped like a tiny cage, constructed of small metal wires. IVC filters are supposed to trap blood clots before those clots reach a patient’s lungs, causing serious medical issues, and even death. Although doctors generally prefer to place patients who are at risk of a blood clot on blood-thinning drugs, some patients are unable to take these drugs, while others are victims of trauma and cannot take the drugs. For these patients, the IVC filter is placed into the largest vein in the belly which returns blood from the legs to the heart.
The filter works by trapping blood clot fragments which develop in the veins, stopping the clots from moving to the heart or lungs, or causing a stroke. Initially, when IVC filters were first used, the filters were intended to be permanent, however later, retrievable filters became more popular. Unfortunately, although retrievable IVC filters are meant to be left in place for three to eight weeks only, many are being left in patients permanently, resulting in IVC filter dangers and IVC filter deaths.
IVC Filter Dangers and IVC Filter Deaths
When an IVC filter migrates from its original location, a number of serious IVC filter problems can occur. The IVC filter can migrate to another area of the inferior vena cava, the heart, or to the pulmonary outflow tract. In cases where the IVC filter migrates to the heart valve, the right ventricle, or the pulmonary outflow tract, retrieval of the filter can become impossible, making surgery a necessity.
Despite the fact that IVC filters are meant to decrease the incidence of IVC filter pulmonary embolism, in some instances the IVC filter can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis. In fact, one study found that when an IVC retrievable filter was implanted among patients with no prior incidence of DVT, those patients had a 40 percent increase in incidence of deep vein thrombosis. In a study involving trauma patients, about 44 percent developed DVT after being implanted with an IVC filter.
These IVC filters were never meant to be long-term solutions, rather as soon as a patient’s risk for pulmonary embolism decreased, the filters were supposed to be removed, and, in fact, this is the primary reason for IVC filter complications such as IVC filter hemorrhage, IVC filter pulmonary embolism, IVC filter stroke, and IVC filter severe bleeding. IVC filter deaths, and other issues, such as heart or chest pain, erosion into the inferior vena cava, perforation of the kidneys, blood vessels, heart or lungs, bleeding or fluid buildup around the heart and broken IVC filter fragment embolisms have occurred among patients with an IVC filter implant.
IVC Filter FDA Warnings
The FDA has received over a thousand reports from patients who have suffered adverse health issues associated with an IVC retrievable filter which was not removed. In 2010, the FDA issued a warning to consumers which stated IVC filters posed health risks, and should be removed as soon as the patient’s risk for a blood clot had lessened. This IVC filter FDA warning was updated in 2014, advising physicians to remove implanted IVC filters between 29-54 days.
Between the years of 2002 and 2005, adverse reports from IVC filter patients included sixteen cases of IVC filters which had migrated to the patient’s heart. Additionally, the IVC filters in two patients migrated to other locations in the body, IVC perforation occurred in three patients, IVC filter severe bleeding occurred in five patients, and eight patients suffered IVC filter fractures. The FDA uses adverse event reports to detect potential safety issues related to medical devices, and received more than 1,000 adverse event reports for IVC filter problems between 2002 and 2015.
IVC Filter Statute of Limitations
Anyone who has been injured by an IVC filter needs to know there are IVC filter statute of limitations which govern the time you have in which to file an IVC filter lawsuit and receive IVC filter legal help. The statute of limitations varies from state to state, going from one year to more than ten years. Most states, however, operate under a two-year statute of limitations for injuries from a medical device.
The IVC filter statute of limitations is not always entirely straightforward—in some cases the statute of limitations begins to run when the device is implanted, in others when the device is recalled, and still in others, when the patient discovers—or should have discovered—the injury was caused by an IVC filter. Unfortunately, doctors are not always easy for patients to understand, meaning it can take months or years to determine you were the victim of negligence. Because of this, valid cases against defective product manufacturers can end up being dismissed.
IVC Filter Legal Help
Currently, IVC filter lawsuits are pending against manufacturers C.R. Bard and Cook, involving the Cook Celect IVC filter and the Gunther Tulip IVC filter. If you have suffered serious injury from an IVC filter, and believe you need to proactively take IVC filter legal action, it is important that you contact an experienced IVC filter lawyer from Sullo & Sullo who can provide knowledgeable legal help.
While IVC filter lawsuits have been filed in various courts across the United States, some of these are being consolidated in the Southern District of Indiana, while others have been consolidated into an Arizona MDL. Perhaps you have experienced IVC filter hemorrhage, IVC filter severe bleeding, IVC filter stroke, IVC filter pulmonary embolism or other IVC filter problems. If so, it can be extremely beneficial to contact an experienced IVC filter attorney as soon as possible.