IVC Filter Lawyer
Blood clot filters are medical devices that are surgically implanted into the body to prevent clotted blood from reaching areas where they can cause serious problems, such as a pulmonary embolism. These blood clot filters are known medically as inferior vena cava filters or IVC filters. Inferior vena cava filters, or IVC filters, are medical devices that are surgically implanted into patients who are unable to take blood-thinning medications.
While touted as a safe, near pain-free method of combating blood clots, it has been discovered that many patients implanted with the device suffered from debilitating health complications as a result.
These discoveries have been substantiated by multiple U.S. Food and Drug Administration device safety communications warning consumers of the health risks posed by varying models of IVC filters. The first of these communications occurred in 2010 as the FDA warned that filters should be removed immediately after the threat of clots subsided. Contact an IVC filter lawyer if you or someone you love has been harmed by these devices.
What Are IVC Filters Used For?
IVC filters were designed to break up the development of blood clots to ensure that the risk of embolism would be reduced or eliminated in the individual implanted with the device. When introduced to the market, the filters were touted as a safe alternative for those whose blood-thinning medications were not showing the desired level of effectiveness.
Medical professionals implant the device when it has been determined that the risk for recurrent pulmonary embolisms is too great to rely on drugs or delay further treatment. Some of the most common instances of this situation include the prevention of pulmonary thromboembolism when anticoagulant therapy is contraindicated.
Beyond the aforementioned instance, IVC’s are typically used whenever any form of anticoagulant therapy has failed to prevent any form of thromboembolic disease. In addition to serving as a direct replacement for anticoagulant therapy, IVC filters are also used for emergency treatment following massive pulmonary embolisms in which the need for an immediate solution renders drugs ineffective.
When Are IVC Filters Implanted?
In addition to situations of pressing medical need, there are also several instances in which events, surgery, or consumer habits require the implantation of an IVC filter.
A common situation that requires an IVC implant is at-risk individuals suffering from extreme trauma. IVC filters are necessary in trauma-affected consumers as an immediate method of pulmonary embolism prevention is needed.
Other occasions that call for the implantation of IVC filters include:
- Convalescence Following Surgery
- Inability To Take Anticoagulants
- Recurring DVT/PE Due To Genetics
- Poor Compliance With Anticoagulants
What Are The Complications Of IVC Filters?
Both of these common issues regarding IVC filters can lead to the most dangerous of health complications – perforation. IVC filters are implanted into the inferior vena cava, the main supplier of blood from the heart to the lower body. It is believed that regular breathing and aortic palpitations can cause the IVC filter to fracture, or move from its intended location. When a device fractures or migrates, the stray piece or main body can alter position in such a way that it perforates an artery wall.
Perforation occurring in any area of the vena cava can have disastrous consequences caused by the subsequent internal bleeding. Those who suffer from this development must seek immediate medical attention to prevent life-threatening complications from developing. Internal damage from IVC filters is often not immediately noticed, however, is a large cause for concern. When the device moves, it may no longer be able to prevent blood clots from causing pulmonary embolism.
The previously mentioned complications are the most commonly reported issues associated with IVC filters, any of which should be discussed with your lawyer. Additional complications include:
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Deep Vein Thrombosis
- Caval Thrombosis/Occlusion
- Stenosis At Implant Site
- Venous Ulceration
- Organ Injury
- Back/Abdominal Pain
While IVC filters are used to provide immediate aid to consumers, they have been linked to several dangerous types of device failure that can lead to potentially life-threatening health complications.
Some of the side-effects that have been reported by patients who received inferior vena cava filters include:
- Filter migration
- Filter breaking or fracture
- Vena Cava or organ perforation
One of the most common complications associated with IVC filters is a piece of the device fracturing from the filter’s main body which can then move through areas of the body causing damage to organs and arteries. In addition to wreaking havoc on vulnerable parts of the body, a filter fracture will also result in the main body of the filter becoming unable to adequately perform its job.
A severe filter fracture can culminate in the main body of the filter breaking away from the original site of implantation and migrating to another location in the body. While the health complications caused by a filter fracture or migration are the same, it is important to understand that a fracture does not always precede a filter migration. There have been reports indicating that faulty implantation or total device failure can also cause an IVC filter to migrate through the body.
IVC filter migration occurs when the device is unable to remain stable in the original site of implantation and begins to move to other locations in the vena cava or body. Filter fracture is often cited as one of the most common reasons filter migration occurs.
This is because a wire used to provide device stability is often the victim of a device fracture. When one of these wires is separated from the main body of the device, the device may no longer have the structural integrity to retain stability. Additionally, some reports have suggested that migration may occur in some consumers because of faulty filter designs.
Regardless of the method in which an IVC filter loses stability, once it has broken free from the original site of implantation it will begin migrating to areas of the body unable to handle the presence of the device.
The migration of an IVC filter will often cause a variety of health complications which if left untreated can become life-threatening. One of the deadliest and most common results of device migration is the perforation of the vena cava artery.
The vena cava is the primary artery responsible for the flow of blood from the heart to the lower body. Because of the importance of this artery, the migration of a device poses an immense risk to consumers. Artery walls are not able to withstand a filter flowing through them, leading to the perforation of the walls by the device’s stability wires.
If the walls are perforated, the consumer may experience excessive internal bleeding that requires immediate medical attention to prevent the condition from experiencing a fatal development.
However, the perforation of the vena cava isn’t the only risk associated with IVC filter migration. Perforation of organs has also been reported to occur when a piece or the body of an IVC filter begins migrating away from the site of implantation.
With IVC filters affecting thousands of consumers each year, several medical research teams have undergone extensive studies to determine the cause, prevalence, and risk associated with IVC filters.
One of the most popular studies used in IVC filter analysis was published in JAMA Internal Medicine by a team of medical professionals. The study aimed to understand the prevalence of fracture for Bard-specific IVC filters. However, due to similarity in design and FDA reports, Bard IVC data can be used as a likely indicator for how Cook IVC filters will react in the body.
The study examined the process of 80 patients who were implanted with an IVC filter to determine the rate at which a filter fracture occurred. After examination, it was discovered that at least thirteen of the patients had at least one strut fracture with those using first-generation Bard filters suffering a fracture rate of one in four (25%).
While the study only offers a small sample size for IVC filter fractures, it points to a greater problem reported by consumers indicating that filters frequently fracture due to either faulty design or faulty implantation.
When an IVC filter fracture occurs, a variety of health complications can occur and potentially develop into life-threatening conditions. One of the most common health complications reported after a filter fracture occurs is the perforation of the vena cava.
This perforation is caused by the fractured piece of the filter tilting or migrating in such a way that the artery wall is penetrated. Because of the vena cava’s status as the primary vein responsible for the flow of blood from the heart to the lower body, any degree of perforation of the vein can cause life-threatening internal bleeding.
Additionally, the perforation of nearby organs can also occur after the vena cava has been perforated or if the fractured piece has migrated far away from the original site of the implant. At times a fracture can even serve as the reason for the development of an internal infection.
About Cook Celect Platinum Vena Cava Filters
Cook systems in particular have been linked to high rates of vena cava perforation and device migration. Both of these complications can have a serious impact on the health of the individual.
Our legal team is currently investigating claims against Cook for their IVC filter systems. If you or a loved one has experienced complications after having a Cook IVC filter installed, you may be able to file a lawsuit and seek compensation. We are currently pursuing lawsuits against Cook for the following IVC filter systems:
- Cook Gunther Tulip
- Cook Gunther Tulip Mreye
- Cook Celect Platinum
The Cook Celect Platinum Vena Cava Filter was designed as a temporary filter to prevent pulmonary embolisms in those who are unable to take standard blood-thinning medication. Although designed to maintain rigidness and stability, the filter is prone to fail due to production errors.
Filter failure carries several complications, the main ones being filter fracture, filter migration, and perforation of the vena cava. Each of these complications leads to serious health risks that require immediate medical attention. The Cook Celect Vena Cava Filter’s information packet details the placement and structure of the device, however, reports serve to contradict the effectiveness of the filter.
FDA Releases Warning About IVC Filters
In 2014 the FDA revised their warning, this time stating that all filters should be removed between the 29th and 54th day to minimize the risk of life-threatening complications. Although prompt, the communications came too late for many consumers who had already been subjected to health complications relating to the failure of an IVC device.
Many of these consumers have since sought legal action against the manufacturer of their respective IVC filter model. The two main manufacturers in this market being named as defendants in these cases are the Cook Group and C.R. Bard, Inc. Both of these companies are among the largest medical technology companies in the world and have vehemently denied that their products cause the health complications claimed in lawsuits.
Can Legal Action Be Taken Against IVC Filters?
With over two million IVC filters implanted in consumers since 2005, thousands of unsuspecting consumers could have suffered from IVC filter-related health complications. As more information has been released regarding these complications, consumers have begun to come forward with the knowledge that they were the victims of IVC device failure. IVC filter settlements have not yet been paid to patients and litigation is still ongoing. As more lawsuits continue to be filed, the expected settlement amounts will continue to rise.
In response to the massive number of lawsuits filed, a federal judicial panel ruled that IVC filter lawsuits would be consolidated under multidistrict litigation to streamline the lawsuit process. With this decision, all lawsuits brought against Cook Medical will be consolidated to the Southern District of Indiana while all lawsuits brought against Bard Medical will be consolidated in the District of Arizona.
While pre-trial matters are consolidated before one federal judge, lawsuits in multidistrict litigation must still stand on their own merit in court or settlement negotiations. As the legal process continues, more information will be known regarding total case numbers, trial dates, and settlement offers but as of July 2016, much of this is still undecided.
Our legal team has significant experience filing lawsuits against several different drug and device manufacturers. We are qualified to practice law throughout the United States and have a great track record of helping consumers, just like you, recover the maximum possible settlement for their suffering. For your IVC filter claim, we can help you determine if you should file an individual lawsuit or join an already existing class action suit.
As of July 2016, the number of federal lawsuits brought against Cook Medical has grown to such a number that a federal judicial panel has ruled that all cases will be consolidated under multidistrict litigation based in the Southern District of Indiana. Settlements in these cases are expected to be substantial due to the seriousness of the complications alleged. If you or a loved one have had a Cook system or other IVC filter installed and suffered complications, our attorneys want to help you file your lawsuit.
Learn More With the Help of an IVC Filter Attorney
Retrievable IVC filters are wire devices implanted in the vena cava, the body’s largest vein, to stop blood clots from reaching the heart and lungs. These devices are used when blood thinners are not an option.
Manufacturers include Bard, Cook, and Johnson & Johnson.
While permanent IVC filters have been used since the 1960s with almost no reports of failure, retrievable IVC filters were introduced in 2003, promoted for use in bariatric surgery, trauma surgery, and orthopedic surgery.
Risks associated with the retrievable IVC filters include migration, fracture, and perforation, leading to embolism, organ damage, and wrongful death.
Any patient who received a Bard or Cook IVC filter implant and matches any of the following criteria is eligible to file a lawsuit with the help of our IVC filter lawyers:
- IVC filter fractured or failed
- Removal or replacement of the filter was required because of the danger of fracture/failure
- IVC filter migrated or became dislodged from its original placement point
- A physician recommended removal but the filter could not be removed due to the risk of further injury