You have probably seen interviews on television with healthcare experts and product liability attorneys discussing the issues with IVC filters. Before we get to the issue, we want to explain what an IVC filter is, in the simplest terms. “IVC” is an acronym for Inferior Vena Cava, a large vein that carries deoxygenated blood into the heart. There are two vena cava in humans, the inferior vena cava carries blood from the lower body and the superior vena cava carries blood from the head, arms, and upper body.
IVC filters are small, expandable metal screens that are inserted by a physician into the inferior vena cava to capture blood clots and prevent them from reaching the lungs. IVC filters are frequently placed in patients who are at risk for a blood clot in the lungs, and for whom anticoagulant therapy cannot be used or is ineffective. IVC filters are intended to be permanent implants. However, there are cases when some of these devices may have the option to be removed. The filters are shaped somewhat like a conical spider web, with a number of legs or struts extend out from the filter. Many patients have begun to experience problems because many devices appear to have a design defect. The most common problems are that the devices are prone to fracture, migrate in the vein, or fail completely.
FDA and IVC filters
The FDA has been raising concerns about problems with IVC filters for the past 5 years. This is because between 2005 and 2010, more than 921 adverse event reports were filed with the FDA involving IVC filters. Complications included:
- 328 reports of IVC Filter migration
- 146 reports of IVC Filter embolization or detachment of device components
- 70 reports of vena cava perforation
- 56 reports of IVC Filter fractures
The FDA has recommended that doctors remove IVC filters about one to two months after the risk of pulmonary embolism has passed. Experts believe that this will help to reduce the risk of IVC filters tilting, shifting, perforating, or breaking. It is obvious that this presents a grave danger because broken pieces will travel to the heart or lungs. The research to this point reveals that this is more likely to occur the longer the device is in place. It is apparent that the manufacturers provided inadequate IVC filter warnings and instructions, causing many doctors to leave the blood clot filters in the vena cava for long-periods of time, increasing the risk that the IVC filter may fail. There may be cases where a doctor was or is negligent, simply leaving the filter in too long. In either case, the results have often led to severe and potentially deadly side effects.
An experienced law firm for product liability in Charlotte, NC
A Charlotte personal injury lawyer will intervene when products are lacking or defective. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer with substantial experience with various types of product liability cases, consider the attorneys at The Olive Law Firm. They are skilled and qualified attorneys who have handled cases involving defective products, medical devices, and automotive parts. If a defective product has injured you or someone in your family, you should speak with an Olive Law Firm product liability attorney right away.