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IVC Blood Clot Filter Problems and FAQ

IVC blood clot filters (inferior vena cava filters, or IVC filters) reduce the risk of blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis. Doctors prescribe retrievable IVC filters to thousands of Americans every year.

However, studies show that IVC filters may increase the risk of blood clots and death when kept in the body for an extended period. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also issued safety communications as early as 2010 regarding these medical devices.

Below, you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about IVC blood clot filter problems and where to go for more information if you are experiencing any side effects from the device.

What is an IVC filter?

An IVC filter is a spider-shaped vascular filter device implanted in the large vein in the abdomen that carries blood from the lower part of the body to the heart. Medical professionals use these small, metal devices to guard against blood clots in people who can't take blood thinners.

The IVC filter traps fragments of blood clots that develop in a person's veins, thereby stopping the clots from moving to the heart and lungs. The problem is that the filters can dislodge and puncture the vein, heart, or lungs. This has led to hundreds of severe injuries in recent years.

How many IVC filters do doctors implant annually, and who manufactures them?

Doctors implant blood clot filters in thousands of U.S. patients annually, most without incident. The company C.R. Bard (Bard's Recovery filter) is one of 11 makers of these devices. Other manufacturers of IVC filters include:

  • B. Braun Medical Inc.
  • Cook Medical Inc.

Patients have filed lawsuits against these IVC filter manufacturers. More than 17,000 plaintiffs have already filed their cases, and the number continues to grow.

Are IVC filters safe?

IVC filters can be safe when used according to the manufacturer's instructions. However, all medical devices, especially implantable devices, carry risks. It's the manufacturer's and medical provider's responsibility to make products and their labels as safe as possible. Unfortunately, some medical device companies and doctors fail to do so.

What are the warning signs of an IVC filter problem?

There are numerous signs that something isn't right with your IVC filter. You must contact your health care provider the moment you suspect something is wrong. You may be able to avoid more serious health issues if you address the problem quickly.

Some of the warning signs that there is an issue with your IVC filter include:

  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back and abdominal pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Confusion
  • Swollen legs
  • Upper body pain
  • Chest and neck pain
  • Rapid heartbeat

These can all be symptoms of a bigger problem.

What problems do patients have with IVC filters?

Not all patients who experience a problem with their IVC filter file a lawsuit. Sometimes, the issue can be resolved with their doctor at little expense.

Some of the more common problems people encounter with defective IVC filters include:

  • Filter migration
  • Filter moves
  • Internal bleeding
  • Device migration
  • Filter fracture

There are times when the filter itself is fine, but there was an issue with filter placement. You may have a medical malpractice claim if you believe your doctor made an error when implanting the filter. The best thing to do is talk to a personal injury lawyer when you experience serious injuries.

What happens if an IVC filter falls out of place?

If your IVC filter dislodges, you have a couple of options. Your doctor may be able to go in and reattach the filter. If the risks are too significant, you can remove them. Once the doctor removes the filter, your symptoms can take up to six months to resolve. You should continue seeing your doctor to ensure no further problems develop.

Who is at high risk of an IVC filter complication?

Certain groups should avoid using an IVC filter. The adverse side effects can impact these patients more severely, and these individuals should avoid having the filters implanted.

The high-risk groups include:

  • People at risk of pulmonary embolism
  • Those who do not respond to anticoagulation therapies
  • Patients who had a recent stroke or heart attack
  • Those people who have suffered cranial trauma

Your doctor must identify an alternate solution if you fall into any of these groups. You don't want to put your health at risk when there are other possible treatments.

Are lawsuits currently pending against the manufacturers of IVC filters?

More than 8,000 IVC filter lawsuits have been filed against Cook Medical Inc. These lawsuits were filed in various federal courts across the United States. The courts consolidated them into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a federal court in Illinois. Thousands of cases were pending in Indiana in 2023.

Thousands of cases against C.R. Bard were initially part of the MDL in Arizona's U.S. District Court District. As of October 2023, the court had resolved all of these cases.

What theories of liability are plaintiffs claiming?

Affected patients nationwide have filed lawsuits against C.R. Bard, B. Braun Medical Inc., and Cook Medical. These cases have alleged wrongdoing on the part of the IVC filter manufacturers under various theories of liability.

The types of product liability cases pending against the defendants include:

In cases where patients have died, families have filed wrongful death causes of action against the manufacturers.

How can I learn more about problems with IVC blood clot filters?

You may be entitled to compensation if you or someone you know has suffered complications due to IVC blood clot filters. If there has been a perforation in your IVC filter or you're experiencing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), you should see a doctor immediately.

If you or a loved one has developed an IVC filter injury, contact an experienced product liability attorney today. They can advise you of whether you have an IVC filter case and help you file a claim against the responsible party. You'll want to move quickly to ensure you don't miss the statute of limitations filing deadline.

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