IVC stands for inferior vena cava. This is the main blood vessel that moves blood from the lower body to the heart. An IVC filter is a tiny medical device that is surgically implanted inside the body to capture blood clots before they migrate to other parts of the body, causing serious and permanent conditions such as pulmonary embolism (PE) or stroke (CVA). These small devices look like a spider and are implanted in the inferior vena cava. Studies have revealed that pieces of the device can break away from the filter and migrate or move to other organs, causing potentially serious injuries and even causing deaths. The fractured pieces are like glass shards or splinters. A study conducted by the New England Society for Vascular Surgery concluded that IVC filters fractured in 31% of the cases in which they were used. A separate study concluded that in 25% of the patients with IVC filters who were studied, shards or splinters broke off and many of them migrated to the patient’s heart, lungs, and even to the hepatic vein.
IVC filters that were manufactured by two companies, C.R. Bard and Cook Medical, have been implicated in causing serious injuries. C.R. Bard (“Bard”) has been a big player in the IVC filter market. In lawsuits that are pending against Bard, it has been alleged that Bard knew that IVC filters were associated with serious side effects, but they hid this information from doctors. It has been alleged that Bard knew the filters were more prone to fracture or splinter, which could, in turn, cause perforations of the vena cava and surrounding blood vessels and organs. When this happens, many patients must undergo emergent and life-threatening, open surgical procedures. Interestingly, in July of 2015, the FDA cited Bard for failing to report adverse events connected with its IVC filters, and cited Bard for selling a device illegally that Bard designed to retrieve the filters. Some of the Bard filters implicated are the Bard Recovery, G2, G2 Express (also referred to as G2X), Eclipse, Meridian, and Denali filters.
Side effects and injuries suffered by patients who had long-term use of IVC filters include fracture and/or migration of the filter to other parts of the body, perforations of the inferior vena cava, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and extreme difficulty removing the IVC filter. These side effects and injuries can occur within weeks of being implanted or they may occur several years after implantation of the IVC filter. If you or a loved one have been implanted with an IVC filter and have experienced any of these side effects or injuries, you may have a valid claim against the manufacturer of the filter. In that case, you should contact the defective medical device attorneys at Suthers & Harper by e-mail or calling toll-free at 1.800.320.2384 for a free consultation.