IVC Filter Complications Overview
Several IVC filter manufacturers are facing litigation after hundreds of people have come forward with adverse side effects as a result of receiving these devices. The filters, which are designed to catch blood clots before they reach the patient’s lungs, also have a high rate of unwanted side effects.
What do IVC Filters Do?
IVC filters first started gaining popularity in the late 1970s, after the first one was used successfully in 1967. Since then, the devices have changed over the years. By 2012, roughly 259,000 IVC filters had been implanted in patients.
Most recently, permanent IVC filters with the option to retrieve entered the marketplace. These filters were designed to be for temporary use; once the patient had lowered their risk for pulmonary embolism, the device was removed. Unfortunately, the devices aren’t as safe as doctors were initially made to believe.
Permanent IVC Filters with the Option to Retrieve Cause Potential Health Risks
The permanent IVC filters with the option to retrieve were designed to be small, light, and easy to capture. They feature a small hook at the top of the device, which surgeons grasp with a snare to pull the filter out of the patient.
The composition of these filters has a tendency to cause issues, including vein perforation and device migration. In fact, some of these devices are so prone to failure that there are hundreds of cases against their manufacturers. One such device had a 25% rate of breaking apart; another was found to move out of place in 40% of patients.
Complications from IVC Devices
A 2010 FDA study gathered data from over 921 reports of adverse side effects. The events included the following:
- 328 reports of filter migration, where the filter dislodged and moved to other areas of the body.
- 146 reports of filter embolization, when components break off the filter.
- 70 reports of the filter perforating vein walls.
- 56 reports of filters fracturing (not breaking off completely).
Consequently, the FDA released a warning about the devices, noting the risks and asking doctor’s to strongly consider them. An additional study was published online that highlighted the risks of a specific brand of filter: the C.R. Bard Recovery and G2 filters. In the report, the effects of the older filter design were studied on 28 patients. Seven of these filters failed. Out of these seven, three patients experienced life-threatening issues, one of whom died.
Symptoms of IVC Failure
While symptoms are somewhat diverse, many patients end up going back to their doctors with crippling pain and other complaints. Some of the symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Extreme back pain
Symptoms are heavily dependent on the particular complication of the device. One woman suffered years before the cause of her constant pain was diagnosed. The device was removed, and her intense back pain was instantly alleviated. The radiologist noted that the broken legs on the device were putting constant pressure on her vertebrae, which caused her symptoms. Unfortunately, device removal is not always so easy.
Defective Device Cases and IVC Filters
There are currently more than 100 IVC lawsuits being brought against various manufacturers spanning multiple states. In fact, there are so many similar lawsuits that they had to be consolidated to obtain faster results.
Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP in Schenectady, New York works with clients all over New York and Vermont. We have extensive experience in personal injury law, with a dedication to defective device law and IVC cases.
We strongly believe the manufacturers of these devices failed to fulfill their duty of warning consumers of the potential risks. After repeated warnings from the FDA, the manufacturers continued to hide reports of the dangerous side effects the devices could cause. They must be held accountable for their actions. Contact us today to discuss your case.