If you suffer from blood clotting complications, you have likely heard of IVC filters, formally known as inferior vena cava filters. These relatively commonly implanted medical devices have stirred up much controversy, and a bunch of lawsuits, and critics of the filters are increasingly asking if they are effective at all.
So if you have an IVC filter, should you panic? No. But you should familiarize yourself with the dangers and if you’ve been injured due to a filter then you should consider a lawsuit. You will not be at all alone — according to the Lawyers and Settlements blog, there already nearly 1,000 such cases already.
Why IVC Filters?
Filters are implanted in the inferior vena cava of patients who can't tolerate anti-coagulants or other medications designed to thin blood and prevent clots. The inferior vena cava is a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood to the heart from the lower body. IVC filters are described by the Food and Drug Administration as "cage-like devices" that are placed in the vein and designed to trap blood clot fragments.
Unfortunately, the filters have a history of breaking and migrating inside patients, which causes serious injuries and even death. IVC filters have additionally been known to tilt or get stuck, to splinter, and to cause damage by perforating organs or tissues, and more. Studies also suggest that these filters can increase the risk of blood clots, rather than the intended effect of anti-coagulation.
The Feds Recommend
The FDA has issued guidance to physicians who have patients with retrievable IVC filters, advising them to remove filters as soon as possible. Some filters are designed to be temporary and some are meant to be left in permanently. Now, the FDA is saying that retrievable, temporary filters should be removed promptly, writing:
The FDA encourages all physicians involved in the treatment and follow-up of patients receiving IVC filters to consider the risks and benefits of filter removal for each patient. A patient should be referred for IVC filter removal when the risk/benefit profile favors removal and the procedure is feasible given the patient's health status.
Suing for IVC Filter Injury
Plaintiffs who have sued for IVC filter injuries complain that they were not warned of the risks associated with implantation of these devices. Hundreds of plaintiffs have reportedly filed suit since March alone, swelling the number of cases on the two major consolidated matters to nearly a thousand. To determine if you should sue too, speak to a lawyer.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you have been injured due to an IVC blood filter or by some other medical device, do not delay. Consult with a lawyer today. Many attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to discuss your claim.