IVC Filter Defects Cause Your Injuries or a Loved One's Death?

ivc filters

Ask a Philadelphia Product Liability Attorney About Filing an IVC Filter Lawsuit

The inferior vena cava is a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart. Inferior vena cava filters (IVC filters) are tiny spider-like devices that a surgeon implants in this vein just below the kidney. IVC filters are designed to prevent blood clots that originate in the legs from reaching the heart or lungs, which could be deadly. These devices are typically used on patients who cannot take blood-thinning medication. However, many patients have experienced severe complications caused by these devices. FDA reports show that IVC filters can dissolve into tiny fragments that migrate and pierce vital organs. As a result, patients may suffer catastrophic injuries and/or wrongful death. Victims and their family members may have legal options to receive compensation for the damages caused by these defective products.

An IVC filter lawsuit can help pay for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and funeral expenses, if necessary. At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., we are committed to helping people who have suffered harm due to the negligence of medical device manufacturers. Our Pennsylvania product liability attorneys work with medical experts, economists, life care planning specialists and other medical professionals to help you receive the maximum amount of compensation possible.

What Are Common IVC Filter Complications?

Over a five-year period, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received more than 900 reports of complications caused by retrievable IVC filters. These complaints mention health problems caused by IVC filter product defects that include:

  • Punctured organs. Pieces of IVC filters or the entire device can migrate and puncture organs, such as the heart or lungs. In one case widely circulated in the press, a piece of the device pierced a victim’s heart, requiring emergency open-heart surgery. An estimated 146 reports sent to the FDA involved embolization, where the entire device migrates to the heart or lungs.
  • Blood vessel punctures. IVC filters and their fragments have punctured blood vessels and caused severe bleeding.
  • Chronic chest pain. IVC filters may cause chronic chest pain and shortness of breath.
  • Wrongful death. Dozens of people have died due to complications caused by IVC filters.

Reports also mention irregular heartbeats, hypotension, confusion, dizziness, nausea and neck pain. Strokes and blood clots are also possible due to IVC filter product defects. In many cases, patients with IVC filters required emergency surgeries to repair damage or to remove the devices.

Hundreds of complaints led the FDA to issue a warning in 2010 that IVC filters should be removed after blood clots no longer pose a risk to patients. In 2014, the FDA updated this warning, stating the surgeons should remove the devices within 29 to 54 days to avoid life-threatening complications. Despite the numerous dangers posed by retrievable IVC filters, neither the FDA nor the manufacturers have issued product recalls for most of these devices.

Which IVC Filters Cause Complications?

During the 1970s, manufacturing companies originally designed IVC filters for long-term use to prevent pulmonary embolisms. A pulmonary embolism is a blood clot that travels from the legs to the lungs. In 2003, the FDA approved IVC filters for short-term use. These temporary, retrievable filters consist of weaker materials than permanent filters. Thus, retrievable filters are more prone to breaking or migrating. Although these newer filters are for short-term use, doctors often leave them inside patients for much longer than advised. The longer these newer filters remain in patients, the greater the risk of complications.

Injury victims and their families have filed hundreds of lawsuits against manufacturers of short-term IVC filters. The majority of these lawsuits involve filters made by the following two major manufacturers:

  • C.R. Bard. C.R. Bard makes the Recovery filter, which caused 27 deaths and hundreds of injuries. The Recovery filter was recalled in 2005 and eventually replaced with the G2 and G2 Express in 2010. FDA records show the G2 and G2 Express filters are also associated with 12 deaths. There have been no product recalls for these IVC filters yet.
  • Cook Medical. FDA adverse event reports show patients have suffered complications caused by Cook Medical’s Gunther Tulip IVC filter and Celect IVC filter.

Injured patients or their family members claim that failure to warn caused preventable complications from newer IVC filters. According to the lawsuits, both companies knew IVC filters had design flaws that could harm or kill patients but failed to warn doctors or take corrective action.

Filing an IVC Filter Lawsuit? Call Our Product Liability Attorneys for a Free Consultation

The lawsuits allege failure to warn, as well as manufacturing and design defects, which caused serious IVC filter injuries. If you or a loved one suffered harm from a defective IVC filter, then you may have legal options to receive compensation. Damages from filing a lawsuit can help pay for medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, funeral costs and lost income, as well as pain and suffering. An attorney can help uncover which parties are responsible for your injuries or loss.

Our Philadelphia IVC filter attorneys have experience helping victims of drug defects and defective products. For a free initial consultation explaining your rights and legal options, call (866) 569-3400 or fill out our online case review form. We have offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, but we can meet you anywhere that is convenient.