IVC Filters are small medical devices implanted within a patient’s body that are designed to trap and dissolve blood clots before they cause a very serious medical condition known as Pulmonary Embolism (PE). This cone shaped device is surgically implanted into a patient’s inferior vena cava (IVC), one of two main veins that carry deoxygenated blood from the body into the right atrium of the heart.

Studies have shown that these devices are prone to fail at dangerously high rates, and have also been linked to severe injuries, and even patient deaths.

FDA Warnings

Since these devices were introduced to the market in 2005, the FDA has received hundreds of complaints from patients about serious, and sometimes deadly, events involving IVC Filters. These medical devices have been strongly associated with many severe and even fatal side-effects in patients due to widespread design flaws and device failures.

In 2010, the FDA issued a warning about IVC Filters, altering patients that these devices could cause serious medical conditions, including:

  • Device Migration: The device does not stay in place and can end up being carried into the lungs or heart.
  • Lower-limb Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVP): Blood clots develop in the legs or lower extremities.
  • Filter Fracture: The device breaks apart in the inferior vena cava, releasing small metal fragments into the bloodstream.
  • Filter Embolization: The device enters the lungs causing an Embolism.
  • IVC Perforation: The device causes a tear in the inferior vena cava.

Any one of these scenarios can be potentially life-threatening, and may require emergency open heart surgery in order to remedy.

Risk Factors

IVC Filters may be implanted when doctors feel that a patient is at high risk of suffering a Pulmonary Embolism. Pulmonary Embolism (PE) occurs when blood clots form in a patient’s legs or pelvis, travel through the bloodstream, and enter a pulmonary artery in the lungs.

During a PE, the flow of blood into the lungs is halted, and the body becomes starved for oxygen. PE can result in devastating injuries, including brain injury, permanent lung and heart damage, or death. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that as many as 60,000-100,000 Americans die every year after suffering a Pulmonary Embolism.

Factors that may increase a patient’s risk of PE and necessitate the use of an IVC Filter include:

  • Extended periods of inactivity, such as being confined to bed due to an illness or injury
  • Immobilization during any type of surgery under general anesthesia
  • Previous diagnosis of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVP)
  • Other risk factors including age, weight and tobacco use
  • Previous predisposition to experiencing blood clots

Henson Fuest Can Help

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries or required revision surgery after receiving an IVC Filter, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses. Call the experienced North Carolina Product Liability attorneys at Henson Fuerst immediately at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form to learn more about your legal options.

When you trust Henson Fuerst with your Product Liability case, we will investigate every detail of your situation and do everything in our power to ensure that your rights are protected. You will never pay an attorney’s fee up front, and you owe our firm nothing unless we recover for you.

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