IVC Filters May Have Deadly Complications

March 4th, 2016


Inferior vena cava filters, or IVC filters, are implanted in individuals who cannot safely take blood thinners in order to prevent clots from traveling to the lungs. These filters are designed to catch any clots and allow them time to safely dissipate. The FDA has received many reports of complications from retrievable IVC filters. The filters have punctured organs, migrated to other parts of the body, and fractured. As a result, the FDA has issued guidelines indicating that the IVC filters should be removed from the body as soon as possible, as the risk for complications increases the longer the filter stays in the body.

Numerous studies have noted high rates of complications from these devices. Of particular concern are indications that Bard, one of the major manufacturers of IVC filters, may have known of the high fracture rate as early as 2003. The company did not inform the FDA of the problem, however, until they had a suitable replacement device to market.

I have an IVC filter- what signs may indicate complications?

Some complications, such as the migration of the IVC filter, may not come with any noticeable signs of trouble. In fact, you may not know the device has migrated until your physician attempts to remove it. Often, however, there are signs of trouble. If you have an IVC device and notice any of these symptoms that may indicate a complication, contact your physician right away. Symptoms include:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Neck pain

What complications can occur?

Complications range from mild, such as a filter that has migrated and is a bit more difficult to remove, to severe, including potentially life-threatening emergencies. If part of the IVC filter breaks off or punctures the inferior vena cava or an organ, you may experience one of the following:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Stroke
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Punctures of the lungs or heart
  • The accumulation of fluid around the heart or lungs
  • Open heart surgery
  • Death

I have an IVC filter – how can I avoid risk?

The FDA has warned that the IVC filters should be removed as soon as the threat of blood clots has passed, or within one to two months, if possible. In the past, some filters that were intended to be used for a short time were left in for years. The risk of complications seems to increase the longer the device is in the body.

I’ve experienced complications from my IVC filter. Do I have a case?

If you have experienced complications from your IVC filter, contact the Garmon Law Firm right away. Our experienced products liability attorney can talk to you about the legal options available in your case. As always, there is no obligation and your consultation is free, so contact the Garmon Law Firm today!

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