Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filters are are small metal wire devices that look something like a spider and are placed against the walls of the IVC (a blood vessel between the heart and lungs) to catch and stop blood clots traveling through the IVC and prevent a pulmonary embolism from occurring. They are used in patients who have a high risk of developing a pulmonary embolism and who have not responded well to anticoagulant therapy (i.e., blood thinners) and are meant to be removed once the symptoms have diminished and the patient is out of danger.
However, the IVC filter rarely reduces mortality for pulmonary embolism patients, and instead has been associated with numerous life-threatening side effects including filter “fracture” resulting in perforation of the heart or lungs; any one of the metal extremities on the device can fracture and be carried away by the blood stream, finding its way to the heart or lungs. Thus, while pulmonary embolisms are very, very dangerous, treating relatively stable patients with an IVC filter may be more dangerous — especially if they are implanted with a removable device that is never removed. That’s right – these IVC filters are only intended to provide short-term protection against a pulmonary embolism.
These IVC filter’s, meant for short-term usage, are being left in place after the risk of a pulmonary embolism has passed. Over time the legs or struts of the IVC filter that extend out in a spider-like fashion may fracture or break, allowing pieces of the filter to travel through the bloodstream and get lodged in (usually) the heart or lungs. If left in a patient for more than 3-4 months, there is a much higher risk of complications like filter fracture or migration, making retrieval very difficult.
The two main IVC manufacturers are Bard and Cook:
- Bard “Recovery” IVC Filter
- Bard “G2” IVC Filter
- Bard “G2 Express [G2x] IVC Filter
- Cook “Günther” Tulip IVC Filter
- Cook “Celect” IVC Filter
IVC filter complications are very serious and can obviously be life threatening and thousands of individuals have been implanted with them, exposing them to a risk of serious and potentially life-threatening injury if the filter fractures, migrates or fails. the The manufacturers, Bard and Cook simply failed to take adequate steps to protect consumers or warn about the risks associated with using the IVC filters.
If you or a loved one have been implanted with an IVC Filter manufactured by Bard or Cook you may have legal rights you need to protect. Contact us online or call immediately at 1-866-252-3535.