Retrievable IVC Filters

The Nature of the Device: A patient who cannot tolerate blood-thinner medication may receive an implanted intravenous vena cava (IVC) filter to trap blood clots before they reach the heart. An IVC filter consists of a small ring with several “legs” that brace it against the walls of the vein. C. R. Bard, Inc., Cook Group Incorporated, and Boston Scientific Corporation are three IVC manufacturers.

IVC filters can be both permanent and retrievable. Using a catheter, an IVC filter is interted into the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the body; that vein moves blood up from the lower legs to the heart and then to the lungs.

The Hazards of Retrievable IVC Filters: An IVC filter is safe for many people, but there are potential problems with it, particularly when it is retrievable. The main risk occurs when parts break off, or when the filter gets dislodged and it moves inside the body. Pieces of the filter can migrate into the lungs or severely damage the wall of the inferior vena cava vein. And a bleeding event associated with that damage is especially serious, because a large volume of blood is involved.
Surgery, including open-heart surgery, is often required to remove either a damaged IVC or pieces of the apparatus that have traveled in the body. And major surgery exposes a patient to additional risks.

The IVC filter also produces side effects. Loss of consciousness, irregular heartbeat, heart damage, fluid buildup, and chest pain combined with breathing difficulties have all occurred.

Health problems associated with the retrievable IVC filter have prompted many patients to sue Bard, Cook Group, and Boston Scientific.

To Obtain Legal Relief: If you were injured by a retrievable IVC filter, you may have valuable legal rights. Attorney Stephen A. Katz is available at (800) 251-3529 for a free consultation, or for legal representation.