IVC Filter Overuse and Potential Dangers

In 2010, the FDA issued a safety warning over inferior vena cava (IVC) filters, a type of vascular filter implanted into the heart by radiologists or surgeons in order to presumably prevent life-threatening pulmonary emboli (PEs). In the years following the warning, the rate of implantation slowed, although it is still more than 10x higher than in Europe.

Hidden Costs and Dangers Plague IVC Filters

Many US doctors and experts have suggested that rates in the US must fall dramatically, especially since the FDA has warned of the potential hazards of IVC filters and also because there is still debate over the actual benefit of the implants. Citing “definite hazards,” of which the implantation procedure is just one, skeptical medical professionals say that IVC filters should be considered for a much narrower range of patients. In addition of the device’s potential dangers and uncertain benefits, there is a “dirty little secret” that many who receive the implants are not aware of: many of these removable filters are never retrieved. The fact that in practice these filters are left behind has not been fully integrated into the cost/benefit analysis of implanting IVC filters.

IVC Filters May Break Apart

These filters may break apart and pierce vein walls or puncture arteries.

In addition to the above considerations, there have been reports of the filters disintegrating or breaking apart. The metal device, or pieces from it, can then move through the blood, damaging veins and arteries and puncturing organs. There are also reports of blood clots occurring at the location where the IVC filter was inserted – the same clotting the device is supposed to prevent.

IVC Filter Lawsuits

Lawsuits against the makers of faulty IVC filters have been working their way through the legal system for several years. While there have not yet been any mass settlements, several large individual settlements have been made. Often, such individual settlements presage mass litigation actions.

Pennsylvania & New Jersey Defective Medical Device Law Firm

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If you or someone you know has been the victim of a defective medical device, please contact our attorneys immediately for a free consultation at 215 462 3330 or by using our online contact form.