Do You Have An IVC Filter? Here Are 5 Warning Signs of Medical Complications from IVC Filters You Should Know

June 20, 2019 | Mass Torts

Summary: Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters and Treatment of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

Since their introduction in 1979, over a hundred thousand Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters have been surgically implanted in patients nationwide, primarily to address the occurrence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

DVT can be a serious medical condition caused when blood travels slowly through your veins, where clumps of blood cells form that can easily turn into a blood clot or thrombus. Once clots form deep in the body’s interior, doctors can diagnose DVT, which commonly presents in the lower legs, thighs and pelvic area.

DVT is a serious condition that can lead to pulmonary embolism, which can be fatal. Symptoms, which don’t display in all patients, include shortness of breath, soreness when standing or walking, consistently higher heart rate, chest pain that worsens when taking a deep breath, warmth in affected areas, enlarged veins and skin that looks red or blue.

Every year, 2.5 million Americans suffer from blood clots in their veins according to Vein Clinics of America. Anything that prevents the blood from circulating regularly can put patients at risk for developing DVT, including obesity, sitting for long periods of time, injury and other factors. Recent reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that every year, 60-100,000 Americans die from DVT complications, including pulmonary embolism.

IVC Filters, along with compression wear (stockings), and blood-thinning medication, are the top three ways doctors treat DVT. The IVC Filter treatment option includes the insertion of a small cone-shaped filter inside the inferior vena cava, which is the human body’s largest vein. The filter’s shape can catch a large clot before it reaches the lungs and causes a fatal pulmonary embolism and does have a high rate of success in protecting the lungs, especially in patients who cannot use custom-fitted compression wear and blood thinners.

FDA Safety Warnings for Known IVC Filter Risks

Though many patients have had a good experience with IVC Filter placement and procedures, including those who failed conventional medical therapy for DVT, in 2005, the Greenfield Vena Cava Filter produced by Boston Scientific was recalled by the FDA.

By August 2010, the FDA issued a safety communication stating IVC filters “are not always removed,” and known long term IVC filter risks include lower limb deep vein thrombosis, filter fracture, filter migration, filter embolization and IVC perforation. There are now over 9,000 IVC filter lawsuits pending against Cook Medical, Johnson & Johnson, C.R. Bard, Cordis Corporation, B. Braun, Rex Medical, and other manufacturers in state and federal courts.

5 Signs of Medical Complications from IVC Filters You Should Know

If you believe you may have IVC Filter complications, here at The Dunken Law Firm we offer a comprehensive free consultation to help you determine if you have an actionable case. As always, you know your body. Contact your doctor if you have questions or you notice any of these five IVC Filter medical complications.

1. Blocked flow in blood vessels.

IVC Filters sometimes become so packed with clots that they block any and all flow in the vessel, causing obvious swelling in the legs.

2. IVC Filter fracture and migration to other parts of the body.

Once a filter piece breaks free, there is the potential for travel to the heart or lungs, where it could cause serious injury and death.

3. IVC Filter fracture and formation of blood clots around filter.

Even bigger blood clots can form around pieces of the original filter once fracture occurs, putting patients at great risk for pulmonary embolism.

4. Pleuritic chest pain due to IVC Filter fracture and migration.

Pleuritic chest pain is caused by inflammation of the thin layers of tissue that line the inside of the chest wall and cover the lungs. When pieces of the original filter migrate and embed in this lining, inflammation and the resulting chronic pain occurs. A medical study in 2010 confirmed thousands of incidents of pleuritic chest pain and complications.

5. Infection at the insertion site.

Common signs of infection at the IVC Filter insertion site include swelling or pain at the insertion site that gets progressively worse, fluid leaking from the site, and feelings of warmth and bleeding that does not stop with pressure. If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your medical provider right away.

Conclusion: Legal Updates

As of October 2018, 9,000 IVC filter lawsuits have been filed in the federal court over allegations of design and manufacturing defects, failure to adequately warn consumers of the device-related health hazards, breach of implied warranty on the medical device, negligent conduct on the part of the manufacturing and/or marketing company.

You may have a case if you’ve been fitted with an IVC Filter and have experienced device fracture and/or migration or an allergic reaction at the insertion site.

The Dunken Law Firm can help. Use the contact form below to get started with your free consultation.