An inferior vena cava (“IVC”) filter is a device that can stop blood clots from going into the lungs. A pulmonary embolism occurs when major blood vessels in the lungs are blocked by a blood clot. IVC filters are often used in people that are at high risk of a pulmonary embolism, but who are unable to take blood thinners.
A surgical procedure is required for placement of an IVC filter. Depending on the type of IVC filter used, the device is either retrievable or permanent.
Common IVC filter manufacturers include:
- Boston Scientific (for Greenfield filters)
- Cordis Corporation / Johnson & Johnson
Studies have demonstrated that more than 1 out of 4 IVC filters fail. IVC filters can cause a variety of potential complications and may even result in death.
Malfunctions of the device include:
- Device fracture: one or more components of the device may break apart or dislodge from the device causing serious injury
- Perforation of vein and/or adjacent organs: the device may cut through the inferior vena cava and into the spine, abdominal aorta, intestines, heart, lungs, or other adjacent organ or vein
- Tilting and embedment of the device: the device may shift and become stuck in the wall of the inferior vena cava causing Caval Thrombosis
- Irremovable device: the inability to retrieve the IVC filter
In August 2010, the FDA issued its first safety communication recommending the immediate retrieval of non-permanent IVC filters if the patient was no longer at risk of pulmonary embolism. At the time, the FDA was concerned that retrievable IVC filters, intended for short-term placement only, were not being retrieved resulting in severe and significant injuries. A similar FDA communication was issued in May 2014. Since 2005, the FDA has received approximately 1000 IVC filter complaints involving migration of the device, detachment of the device components, perforation of the IVC and filter fracture.
After the FDA’s initial safety communication was made public, victims began to file lawsuits against IVC filter manufacturers.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of an IVC filter, please contact Johnson Law Group at 800-624-8899 for a free case consultation.