IVC filters are put in place to reduce a person's risk for pulmonary embolism, something that can trigger deadly consequences. It occurs when a blood clot forms and travels toward the lungs, blocking blood flow in that area.
Though IVC filters are effective for some, other users have found their filters do more harm than good. The FDA has received more than 1000 adverse event reports related to filters, causing the agency to issue a warning to doctors about the inappropriate use of filters. In 2010, the FDA warned that retrievable filters posed posted a variety of risks, and in 2014, updated safety warnings to remove temporary devices between the 29th and 54th day after impantation.
Are IVC Filters Effective?
There is some debate in the medical community about whether or not IVC filters work as intended. Most agree filters intended to treat permanent risk of pulmonary embolism are relatively safe, but not everyone shares that opinion when it comes to temporary filters. This is especially the case because many doctors fail to remove these filters once the risk for pulmonary embolism passes – or the filter attaches to the body and cannot be removed without a great deal of effort.
Risks of IVC Filters
In addition to the general risks associated with the implantation procedure, there are several other concerns related to temporary IVC filters. These include:
• Puncture of the vena cava wall, which most often occurs during the placement of the device, but can happen at any time
• Fragmentation of the filter, which is most common when temporary filters are left in place too long
• Migration of the filter, which can lead to secondary problems when the device travels to other parts of the body and punctures soft tissue
• Embolization of the filter, which occurs after device migration and can create the exact complications the device was intended to prevent
• Failure of the filter – some filters never work as intended and patients experience just as much risk for pulmonary embolism as they would without a filter – maybe even more
Determining whether or not an IVC filter is going to be the best option for you is something you need to do with the assistance of your doctor. Some patients choose to get a second opinion before undergoing implantation of an IVC filter. If you do believe a filter is right for you, be sure to follow the instructions associated with the device and if it is a temporary device, speak with your doctor about scheduling removal within the appropriate period of time.
What You Can Do If an IVC Filter Caused You Harm
If you or a loved one already has or had an IVC filter that caused medical side effects, you have a right to take action. Many people who experienced trauma following implantation of an IVC filter have already filed lawsuits against the manufacturer of their device. This includes lawsuits filed against Manufacturers C.R. Bard and Cook Medical, makers of the following IVC filters:
• Bard Recovery filter
• Bard G2 filter
• Bard G2 Express filter
• Cook Gunther Tulip filter
• Cook Celect filter
The first of many IVC filter lawsuits was settled in 2015 after Kevin Philips was forced to undergo open heart surgery because the Bard Recovery IVC filter broke inside his body, traveled to his heart, and caused a perforation.
The US Judicial Panel on MDL consolidated several IVC filter lawsuits against Bard to the US District Court District of Arizona in August 2015. There are more than 50 lawsuits pending in the MDL and other cases are still pending at the state and federal court level.