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Inferior vena cava (IVC) filters are small, cage-like devices that are inserted in the veins of patients for the purpose of catching blood clots and preventing them from traveling to the lungs.
There are two types of IVC filters – permanent and retrievable. Retrievable IVC filters are designed to be removed when they are no longer needed instead of being left in the vein permanently.
Unfortunately, there have been numerous reports of complications associated with retrievable IVC filters, including vein and organ perforations and injuries caused by breakage or migration of the filters.
If you or your loved one has a retrievable IVC filter, it may be advisable to speak with your doctor about whether the device should be removed. You should also consult with an experienced Virginia defective medical device lawyer with Marks & Harrison to learn about your legal options if you have suffered harm. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Use of IVC Filters Has Grown Over the Years
Doctors started using IVC filters in 1979. Their use has grown over the years, from use on roughly 2,000 patients in 1979 to approximately 259,000 patients by 2012, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The purpose of IVC filters is to help prevent blood clots deep in the lower extremities and pelvis (deep vein thrombosis) from traveling to the lungs and becoming pulmonary embolisms (PEs). PEs can result in death when they cut off blood flow to the lungs.
Since 2005, the FDA received numerous reports of adverse events associated with retrievable IVC filters. Many reports have involved migration of the device away from the place where it was inserted. As a result, the FDA issued a safety alert concerning these devices in 2012.
How IVC Filters Should Work
The inferior vena cava is the largest vein in the body. It carries deoxygenated blood from the lower portion of the legs to the heart and lungs. With patients who suffer from deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot may travel up the vein into the lungs.
To prevent that from occurring, a vascular surgeon or other physician may insert an IVC filter into the inferior vena cava through an incision in the neck or the groin, using a catheter. Wires in the metal IVC filter trap the blood clot as it travels through the vein.
When this process is complete, a doctor can remove the filter in a manner similar to the way in which it was inserted. Physicians typically inject the vein with dye, after which the IVC filter is removed, using a catheter-like tool.
Potential Complications Associated with IVC Filters
Serious complications may be associated with retrievable IVC filters. Adverse events reported to the FDA include:
- Migration of the device
- Filter perforation
- Fracture of the filter
- Detachment of device components
- Embolism (obstruction of the blood vessel).
The FDA states that retrievable IVC filters were designed to be temporary devices that should be removed after the filter has served its purpose. According to the FDA, the risk of complications caused by the device increase the longer that it remains in a patient.
Defective IVC filters may fracture and break apart in a patient’s vein. When that occurs, not only does the device fail to do its job of trapping and containing the blood clot – which creates the risk of pulmonary embolism for the patient – but metal fragments may also migrate in the vein. In turn, a patient may suffer serious injury to the vein and organs.
Some health risks from use of retrievable IVC filters may be reduced if doctors remove them promptly after blood clots have been broken down.
According to the FDA, retrievable IVC filters should be removed 29 to 54 days from the date they were implanted in patients for whom the risk of pulmonary embolism is temporary.
Seeking Compensation for IVC Filter Injury Victims
Patients who have suffered complications because of retrievable IVC filters may be entitled to pursue compensation for their injuries. Damages they may be entitled to claim include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Physical and mental pain and suffering.
How the Defective Medical Device Attorneys of Marks & Harrison Can Help You
If you believe that you have been injured or lost a loved one because of a defective IVC filter, it is important to speak with a defective medical device lawyer from Marks & Harrison as soon as possible.
A legally imposed time limit known as the statute of limitations applies to personal injury claims that arise from defective products such as medical devices. It is important to begin work right away on investigating your case and determining the legal options that may be available to you.
The product liability lawyers of Marks & Harrison represent clients in Richmond and throughout the state of Virginia. We have the skills, knowledge and resources to efficiently and effectively seek the maximum compensation you are entitled to receive for your injuries.
Your case may be one of several filed across the nation against manufacturers of defective IVC filters. If your case is a part of wider, national litigation, we will make sure your rights are protected at every stage.
We believe that manufacturers of medical devices should be held accountable for the harm their products cause. By pursuing a claim for compensation, you may be able to recover damages for your economic and non-economic losses. By holding responsible parties accountable, you may also help to prevent similar harm to others.
Contact a Virginia Defective IVC Filter Lawyer Today
You can have confidence that our dedicated legal team at Marks & Harrison is ready to protect your rights in your IVC filter claim. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.
Sources / More Information:
- Inferior Vena Cava Definition, MedicineNet.com
- Decision Analysis Of Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filters In Patients Without Pulmonary Embolism, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Removing Retrievable Inferior Vena Cava Filters, FDA