The inferior vena cava (IVC) is a vein located in the abdomen that returns the blood from the body’s lower half up to the heart. When clots form in an individual’s veins, in their pelvis or legs, they can travel up to the lungs or heart, causing blockages and pulmonary embolisms. This is called venous thromboembolism, or VTE.
Patients diagnosed with or at high risk for VTE that cannot benefit from anticoagulation drugs, like blood thinners, often undergo inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement procedures.
These small, metal devices are designed to lessen the chances of pulmonary embolism. They do so by catching larger clots, which can stop them from reaching the lungs and heart. Both permanent and temporary IVC filters are used in patients.
Although IVC filters save lives, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has received hundreds of complaints and reports regarding IVC filter complications over the past 20+ years. Numerous companies have been hit with wrongful death lawsuits, and class-action lawsuits.
Several categories of problems have developed in patients with IVC filters: Blood clots, filter fracture, filter migration, and organ perforation and damage have been reported.
These have been caused by a number of factors, including:
Certain IVC brands and manufacturers have been implicated in class-action and individual medical product liability lawsuits because of these problems. They were accused of being aware that certain filters were defective, yet continuing to market and sell them. The plaintiffs believe that the IVC companies should be held liable for medical problems that resulted from these IVC filters.
IVC filters can protect patients from developing cases of VTE, but patients should know the risks before moving forward. Device malfunctions can lead to complications like severe bleeding, pain, fatigue, internal injuries, and even death.
The filter could also break free and travel to the lungs or heart, which could be as deadly as a clot. In rare cases, the filters become clogged up with clots and block blood flow in the vessel, which can result in swollen legs.
There are also the additional risks that come with the surgical procedures for inserting the filters, like infections and allergic reactions. In addition, there could be damage to a blood vessel, bruising, and bleeding.
If an IVC filter must be removed, this is another procedure with surgical risk factors.
Any patient that needs any type of medical device should be well informed of its risks and benefits. Medical practitioners, as well as manufacturers, should be completely transparent when sharing safety information. Further, they should be meticulous about providing any updates, such as recalls.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by IVC complications, turn to an experienced Philadelphia defective IVC filter lawyer at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. This area of law is our specialty, and we will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve. Call us today at 215-569-4000 or complete an online form.