There are growing concerns over the alleged risks associated with a medical device implanted in several thousand American patients who suffer from blood clot complications. Known as inferior vena cava filters, or IVC filters, these devices are designed to reduce the risk of blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis.
However, studies now show that IVC filters may actually increase the risk blood clots and death when kept in the body for an extended period of time. 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.
Q: 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, also known as the inferior vena cava. Medical professionals use the small, metal devices to guard against blood clots in people who are unable to take blood thinners.
The filter is meant to work by trapping fragments of blood clots that develop in a person's veins throughout the body, thereby stopping the clots from moving to the heart and lungs and causing strokes and other severe complications. However, the filters can sometimes become dislodged and puncture the vein, heart, or lungs, leading to hundreds of serious injuries in recentl years.
Q: How many IVC filters are implanted annually and who manufactures them?
Blood clot filters are implanted in thousands of U.S. patients each year, most without incident. The company C.R. Bard is one of 11 makers of these devices. Bard's Recovery, G2, and, G2 Express filters are specifically at issue in many of these cases.
Q: What is the FDA's recommendation?
The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has received hundreds of reports about IVC filters. Reported IVC blood clot filter problems include:
As a result of these injuries, the FDA issued a warning in 2010, stating that the filters posed health risks and should be removed as soon as the patient's risk for blood clots subsides. The FDA updated the warnng in 2014, stating that most devices should be removed within a certain time period after implantation (usually 29-54 days). This warning came too late for some, however. Plaintiffs began filing lawsuits across the country claiming the filters caused them harm and even death in certain cases.
Q: Are lawsuits currently pending against the manufacturers of IVC filters?
Yes, there are lawsuits pending against both Cook and C.R. Bard. The complaints involved the Cook Celect and Gunther Tulip filters. These lawsuits have been filed in various federal courts across the U.S. and are currently being consolidated and centralized in the Southern District of Indiana. For more information about the consolidated lawsuits, visit the court's website.
In August 2015, approximately 50 cases against C.R. Bard were also consolidated by the U.S. Judicial Panel Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) to the U.S. District Court District of Arizona. For more information about those cases, you can visit the Arizona court's website.
Q: What theories of liability are plaintiffs claiming?
Impacted patients around the country have filed lawsuits against C.R. Bard and Cook Medical for design defects, manufacturing defects, failing to warn of the known risks, breach of implied warranty, and negligent misrepresentation. In cases where a patient has died, the family may have a wrongful death cause of action against the manufacturers.
Q: How can I learn more about IVC blood clot filters?
If you or someone you know has suffered complications due to IVC blood clot filter problems, or a filter not being removed within the appropriate time period, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in filing a claim against the company responsible. A good first step is to have a qualified attorney evaluate your claim free of charge.
Contact a qualified product liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.