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IVC Filter Defect Lawyers
If You’ve Suffered Serious Complications from Your IVC Filter, You’re Not Alone—and You May Be Able to File for Compensation
Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters have been used for over 40 years to help block blood clots that could cause a pulmonary embolism. Though at one point rarely used, the approval of removable IVC filters helped increase their popularity; around a quarter of a million Americans now have one of these devices.
Unfortunately, thanks to issues ranging from skipped testing to improper use to potential fraud, patients may not know about the risk of an IVC filter when they agree to have one implanted.
There is a decrease in the rate of pulmonary embolism among at-risk patients using IVC filters, but patients who will not benefit are also recommended these devices. They can come with serious complications, from migration to perforation to an increase in blood clots. In rare cases, patients have died from a faulty IVC filter.
If you’ve suffered a painful malfunction and/or needed to have an IVC filter removed after it impacted your health, you are likely eligible for compensation. Evidence suggests the companies that introduced these products to the market did so improperly. The patients they harmed with their negligence and lawbreaking deserve justice.
The Risks Associated with IVC Filters
As the use of IVC filters increased, so did the number of claims against them. In a brief time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received over 900 reports of various complications. Studies of IVC filter patients confirmed the issues reported were widespread—in fact, because some patients did not suffer symptoms, official numbers likely understated the prevalence of these issues.
A patient’s likelihood of developing complications may rely on personal factors, but researchers have found the longer an IVC filter is used, the more likely it is to become defective. Even filters meant for long-term use may start to cause issues if they’re left in for more than 30 days. For removable IVC filters, most of which are not taken out as recommended, the risks may be even greater.
These devices have been known to move out of place, traveling along the IVC or reaching organs such as the heart and lungs. IVC filters have also been found embedded in back muscles. Among FDA reports, migration was the most common complication, accounting for more than 1 in 3 patient complaints.
Vein or Organ Perforation
IVC filters have hooks meant to prevent migration—but when they do migrate, these hooks can become caught in veins or even organ tissue. Eventually, they may pierce through it. Especially if the IVC or another vein or artery is perforated, a patient may suffer fatal internal bleeding.
When used for long-term treatment, IVC filters have an increased risk of fracture—having a part break off. While this is much more common among retrievable filters, devices meant for permanent use also suffer this failure. Fractured pieces can migrate throughout the body. Pieces of IVC filters have been found in patients’ hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers, and spines.
Risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis and Vena Cava Thrombosis
Ironically, IVC filters can actually lead to the formation of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) or in the IVC itself (caval thrombosis). These blood clots can travel through the body and block circulation.
While doctors want an IVC filter to embed itself to some degree, if it becomes too integrated with the wall of the IVC, removal may be impossible. This is especially a risk with retrievable devices, as they are more likely to experience failure if left in the body.
Complications During Removal
Up to 20% of these devices may not be retrievable as promised. If the filter has perforated the IVC wall, removing it may cause rupture and fatal internal bleeding. If the filter has caused increased blood clotting, doctors may not want to remove it as doing so might lead to a pulmonary embolism. Retrieval attempts can also break the device.
Symptoms of IVC Filter Malfunction
While many patients do not suffer symptoms from a defective IVC filter, others have symptoms that are difficult to place. If you have an IVC filter and are suffering some of the following side effects, you may have experienced one of the complications listed above:
- Abdominal pain
- Back pain
- Chest pain
- Edema (swelling) of the legs
- Heavy-feeling legs
- Kidney failure
- Leg cramps or pain
- Shortness of breath
- Skin changes including dermatitis, discoloration, scarring, and ulcers on the legs
Your doctor can run imaging tests to determine if your IVC filter is behind these health issues.
Your Right to Recover
Around 8,000 patients have filed lawsuits after being injured by a device meant to protect them from pulmonary embolism. If you suffered complications because of an IVC filter, you may be able to join them. When consumers face harm due to defective products, they are eligible to request damages including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Decreased quality of life
Our team is dedicated to helping our clients maximize their compensation. We’re aggressive in the courtroom, and pharmaceutical companies scare tactics won’t work on us. You deserve justice. Learn how we can help you get it.
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Keeping Our Communities Informed About Pharmaceutical & Medical Devices
With our experience and success in pharmaceutical & medical device litigation, our firm has become a resource for local and national news organizations reporting on the risks associated with some of these products. Over the course of fighting multiple pharmaceutical & medical device cases, we’ve learned just how often this risk is concealed from workers and consumers. Our goal is to ensure Americans know about the risks that may surround them every day, and we are honored to help the media share this vital information.