What is an IVC Filter?

An IVC filter, which is also known as an inferior vena cava filter or blood-clot filter, is a medical device that’s designed to save lives. It’s implanted in the inferior vena cava in order to reduce the risk of pulmonary emboli. A small wire filter catches blood clots before they get to the lungs or other vital organs. Blood clots are normally meant to stop blood from flowing out of the body, but sometimes a clot may inappropriately develop within an artery or vein. This could cause a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening medical conditions.

When an IVC filter is implanted, it catches the clot and allows blood to freely flow around the blockage. Over time, the body’s natural anticoagulant functions will break it down. If a blood clot filter is not implanted, the embolism may cause blockage of the pulmonary artery, resulting in chest pain, difficulty breathing, and even death.

IVC filters are often utilized in patients who have a high risk of developing blood clots and are unable to take anticoagulant medication. Over the last 20 years, the number of IVC filters implanted in patients has skyrocketed. In 1999, there were only about 49,000 IVC filters placed in the United States. By 2012, that number had reached well over 250,000. From 1999 to 2008, the use of IVC filters has increased by 111.5%.

Although IVC filters are considered a viable treatment option for those with a high risk of developing pulmonary embolism, concerns over the safety and effectiveness of these medical devices have increased. The number of injured patients has also increased, causing hundreds of IVC filter lawsuits to be filed. Patients filing lawsuits will be actively seeking personal injury law firms. Broughton Partners tracks only quality qualified retainers and our team of specialists wants to help your law firm connect with IVC filter lawsuit leads.

IVC Filters Linked to Complications

Hundreds of thousands of people that have had IVC filters implanted to prevent blood clots are coming forward with reports of side effects and complications.

IVC Filter Risks

  • The filter moves or changes position, complicating the retrieval
  • The filter perforates the inferior vena cava or internal organs, causing internal damage
  • The filter breaks apart into smaller pieces, traveling to the heart or lungs

IVC Filter Side Effects

  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Hemorrhage
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Device Migration
  • Thrombosis
  • Filter Fracture
  • IVC Perforation
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Device Infections

IVC Filter Makers

  • Cook Medical Celect
  • C.R. Bard Denali
  • Rex Option Elite
  • Cordis Optease

IVC Filter Lawsuit

Despite being designed to prevent life-threatening blood clots, IVC filters have ended up causing greater risk in many patients. Lawsuits against the makers of IVC filters claim that the manufacturers failed to adequately warn patients and physicians of the risks involved with the medical devices. In fact, the FDA received 921 adverse reports related to IVC filters between 2005 and 2010, including 328 involving device migration, 146 involving detachment, 70 involving perforation of the inferior vena cava, and 56 involving filter fracture.

Despite these warnings from the FDA, many IVC filter manufacturers still do not let patients know about the risks. In fact, current lawsuits claim that C.R. Bard knowingly hid the results of its own study because it found the filters to be dangerous. According to NBC News4, the doctor of the internal study concluded: “Further investigation…is urgently warranted.”

In one case, Kelly Vlasvich and her husband Chris sued Bard for negligence and breach of implied warranty. Kelly had a Bard G2 filter implanted in 2009. It wasn’t until 2011 did she begin experiencing complications. Doctors eventually discovered that the IVC filter had been fractured and a strut had become lodged in the right ventricle of her heart. Kelly claims this resulted in “significant medical expenses and has endured extreme pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, disfigurement and other losses, which are permanent in nature.”

Vlasvich’s case is similar to many other qualified retainers pending in court. Thousands claim the devices have broken, fractured, or migrated. Some say the IVC filters have even been responsible for serious injury and death.

The most recent update to the ongoing IVC filter lawsuit involves a case against Cook Medical that resulted in a $3 million settlement verdict from a federal jury in the U.S. District Court for Southern Indiana. The plaintiff, Tonya Brand, claimed that the defective IVC filter had broken into small pieces that spread to her thigh and near her spine. This was an important case in IVC filter litigation because it marks the first time a jury has reached a verdict that the IVC filters manufactured by Cook Medical are defective and dangerous.

2010

The FDA issued a safety alert about IVC filters and the potential risk of device migration, filter perforation, filter fracture, and device embolization.

2013

Patient Lisa Davis reached a settlement with Bard after claiming her G2 filter had migrated to her heart. She sued Bard for failing to warn her physicians of risks and a misrepresentation of the device as safe.

2014

Panel of federal judges established a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2570) in the Southern District of Indiana to consolidate IVC Filter lawsuits against Cook Medical Inc.

2015

Panel of federal judges established a Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2641) in the District of Arizona to consolidate IVC Filter lawsuits against Bard Medical Division.

January 2015

Kelly Vlasvich and Bard reached an agreement over her accusations of negligence and a breach of warranty against Bard.

February 2015

Another settlement against Bard took place shortly after Kevin Phillips went to trial in Nevada. He claimed his IVC filter was fractured and a piece of the device perforated his heart.

2017

Cook Medical won its first bellwether trial.

March 2017

Boston Scientific settled a wrongful death lawsuit with an undisclosed amount after its Greenfield vena cava filter allegedly caused fatal injuries to a woman.

2018

Cook Medical was ordered to pay a Houston firefighter $1.2 million after he suffered blood vessels and organ perforations from his Cook Celect IVC filter.

March 2018

Bard was ordered to pay Sherri Booker a payout of $3.6 million after her IVC filter broke into small pieces and pierced one of her blood vessels.

2019

Cook Medical paid $3 million to a woman in Indianapolis who suffered injuries after the company’s Celect IVC filter fragmented in her body.
The fifth bellwether trial for Bard was settled for an undisclosed amount.

October 2019

Tracey-Reed Brown was awarded $33.7 million after filing a lawsit against Rex Medical claiming that the company’s IVC filter caused her to suffer injuries after the device fractured in her body.

References

RadiologyInfo.org. “Inferior Vena Cava Filter Placement and Removal”, RadiologyInfo.org, Accessed March 3, 2019.

John Hopkins Medicine. “Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter Placement”, John Hopkins Medicine, Accessed March 3, 2019.

Thuong G. Van Ha, M.D. “Complications of Inferior Vena Caval Filters”, US National Library of Medicine, Accessed March 3, 2019.

Duszak R Jr, Parker L, Levin DC, Rao VM. “Placement and removal of inferior vena cava filters: national trends in the medicare population.”, US National Library of Medicine, Accessed March 3, 2019.

Stacey Naggiar, Stephanie Gosk and Tim Sandler. “HEART HEALTH
Did Forged Signature Clear Way for Dangerous Blood-Clot Filter?
”, NBC News, Accessed March 4, 2019.

Stanford Health Care Now. “Removing Tiny Filter Embedded in Vein Takes Expertise Unique to Stanford Hospital”, Stanford Health Care, Accessed March 4, 2019.

University of Miami School of Medicine and Jackson Memorial Hospital Department of Radiology. “Endovascular Techniques
Advanced Techniques for Complicated Ivc Filter Retrievals: a Clinical Perspective
”, Vascular Disease Management, Accessed March 4, 2019.

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