IVC Filters Lawsuit Attorneys
Injured Patients File Lawsuits for the Serious Health Risks of IVC Filters
If you believe you may have an IVC Filter lawsuit, contact the injury lawyers of Chris Hudson & Associates to discuss your case.
A blood clot following surgery can be fatal if it travels to the lungs and causes a pulmonary embolism. Many patients are prescribed blood-thinning medications that can reduce their risk of developing this dangerous medical condition. However, for those who have adverse reactions to these medications, doctors may surgically insert an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter, which has been marketed as an alternative way to prevent blood clots. Unfortunately, IVC filters can cause serious medical problems that are sometimes fatal.
How IVC Filters Are Supposed to Work
An IVC filter is a small metal device that resembles a cage and is designed to trap blood clots in the lower extremities and prevent them from traveling to the heart and lungs. It is surgically inserted in the largest vein of the body, which is called the inferior vena cava.
The FDA approved the use of the first IVC filter in the late 1990s, and many more have been marketed since the early 2000s. There are two types of these filters: permanent and retrievable. Permanent filters are designed to be used long-term. Retrievable filters are designed to be temporary devices that are removed once there is no risk of blot clots developing, but also have the option of being left in for a more extended period.
Major manufacturers of IVC filters are C.R. Bard, Cook Medical, Rex Medical, and Boston Scientific. Some common makes and models of IVC filters include the following:
- Bard G2 Express filter
- Bard G2 filter
- Bard Recovery filter
- Bard Eclipse filter
- Bard Meridian
- Bard Denali
- Cook Select
- Cook Gunther Tulip
Serious Complications Caused by IVC Filters
The dangers of IVC filters have been known since at least 2010, when a research study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that patients with the Bard Recovery and Bard G2 filters suffered injuries as a result of the fracturing or migration of the devices. That year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also issued a safety warning after receiving more than 900 complaints of IVC filters, causing injuries to patients. The FDA recommended that physicians closely monitor their patients and remove the IVC filter as soon as the risk of blood clots had passed.
Despite these warnings, IVC filters continue to be widely used. Also, physicians often leave them in permanently. Some of the dangers of IVC filters include:
NBC News reported in December 2015 that C.R. Bard replaced an IVC filter associated with 27 deaths, and hundreds of problems with a modified version it knew had many similar flaws. Bard kept the G2 and G2 Express filters on the market for five years, selling more than 160,000 of the filters that NBC News reported were linked to at least 12 deaths.
A 2016 study by the American College of Cardiology found that IVC filters were “likely being over-utilized,” retrieval rates were low, and information regarding appropriate use and surveillance were lackluster. The study noted that a complicating factor was that the researchers’ definition of high-risk was not necessarily the same as that used in clinical practice.
Some IVC filters can move or migrate. If their position changes, a blood clot may not be trapped in the device. Also, the IVC filter can move through the body into the lungs or heart. Filter migration can often cause blood supply complications.
Erosion or Falling Apart
The brittle legs of the filter can erode or break apart. If this occurs, the parts can puncture the vein, heart, lungs, or other nearby organs. Blood clots also would not be trapped in the device and could become life-threatening.
Some of the severe health complications that are caused by IVC filters include:
- Perforated organs
- Internal bleeding
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Device infection
- A blockage that causes swelling of the legs
- Blood clots in the lungs
- Shortness of breath
- Cardiac tamponade (accumulation of fluid)
- Respiratory distress
- Chest pain
- Pulmonary embolism
- Heart rhythm problems
- Neck pain
- Venous thromboembolic disease
Several of these complications may also be fatal.
Lawsuits Being Filed Against Manufacturers of IVC Filters
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Safety Communication in 2010 stating it had received 921 adverse event reports from IVC filters, including 328 reports of device migration, 146 reports of device embolization, 70 reports of perforation of the inferior vena cava, and 56 reports of filter fracture. The FDA noted in a separate May 2014 advisory that other known long-term risks associated with IVC filters included lower limb DVT and IVC occlusion.
There are two types of IVC filters: permanent and retrievable. The eight brands of permanent IVC filters include:
- Bird’s Nest Filter from Cook Medical
- Gunther Tulip Filter from Cook Medical
- Vena Tech LGM Filter from B. Braun
- Vena Tech LP Filter from B. Braun
- Simon Nitinol Filter from C.R. Bard
- TrapEase Filter from Cordis Corporation
- Titanium Greenfield Filter from Boston Scientific
- Over-the-Wire Greenfield Filter from Boston Scientific
The eight brands of retrievable IVC filters include:
- ALN optional vena cava filter from ALN Implants Chirugicaux
- G2 vena cava filter from C.R. Bard
- G2 X vena cava filter from C.R. Bard
- Eclipse vena cava from C.R. Bard
- Günther Tulip vena cava filter from Cook Medical
- Celect vena cava filter from Cook Medical
- OptEase retrievable vena cava filter from Cordis
- Option retrievable vena cava filter from Rex Medical
Thousands of individual and class action product liability lawsuits have been filed against C.R. Bard, Cook Medical, and other manufacturers of IVC filters for compensation for injuries that patients suffered as a result of the use of these devices. Allegations of wrongdoing against these manufacturers include:
- The filters have design and manufacturing defects.
- Manufacturers failed to warn patients of the potentially serious risks of these medical devices.
- Manufacturers breached the implied warranty on the IVC filters.
- Manufacturers and marketing companies promoting these devices were negligent.
The March 2016 Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study that found that among 556,658 patients hospitalized with pulmonary embolism, 94,427 underwent IVC filter placement. An estimated one in six Medicare beneficiaries with PE receives an IVC filter, according to the study.
On July 13, 2018, the JAMA Network published a study that found that of 126,030 patients with the venous thromboembolic disease (VTE), 45,771 patients, or 36.3 percent, were treated with an IVC filter while 80,259 patients, or 63.7 percent, did not receive a filter. The study stated that its most significant finding was that “IVC filter use in patients with VTE and a contraindication to anticoagulation is that treatment with an IVC filter was associated with a higher 30-day mortality than treatment without IVC filter placement after adjustment for demographics, comorbidities, immortal times bias, and the propensity to receive a filter.”
A retrospective study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) involving 144 patients with retrievable IVC filters inserted between 2004 and 2008 evaluated the incidence of complications, and the rate and success of retrieval attempted in 14 cases at an average of 4.6 months. The study found that retrieval was successful in 10 of 14 cases, but complications included IVC thrombosis in three cases, a new deep venous thrombosis (DVT) alone in six patients, a new DVT with new PE in one patient, and filter migration in two patients.
On September 18, 2018, JD Supra reported that a Houston firefighter Jeffrey Pavlock was awarded $1.2 million in a jury verdict against Cook Medical after experiencing blood vessel and organ perforations from his IVC filter. The Legal Examiner reported on February 7, 2019, that an Indiana jury awarded a woman $3 million in damages in another Cook IVC filter lawsuit.
The National Law Review reported that over 10,000 IVC filter cases have now been filed in state and federal courts in the United States, most of which have been filed against manufacturers such as Bard Medical and Cook Medical. The National Law Review noted that the Texas decision against Cook came after the first bellwether trial found for defendant and the second bellwether trial was dismissed on summary judgment, but Bard Medical was ordered to pay $3.6 million to a plaintiff in the first Bard multidistrict litigation (MDL) bellwether trial in 2018 and second bellwether trial was a defense win.
What to Do If You Suffered Injuries Due to an IVC Filter Failure
If you had an IVC filter surgically inserted that has caused you to suffer injuries; you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our experienced mass tort attorneys are here to explain your legal options and to fight aggressively for the compensation you deserve.
We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis so that you owe no attorney fees unless we successfully settle your claim or win your case at a jury trial. To learn more about how we can assist you, contact us online or call our office directly at 888-991-8011 to schedule your free consultation today.