More than 200,000 Americans suffer from the formation of blood clots in the veins every year. Anti-clotting medications exist, but some patients cannot take these drugs for various reasons. At first, IVC filters seemed to be the answer. IVC filters are medical devices intended to prevent blood clots from traveling to certain areas of the body. When implanted in the inferior vena cava, they may prevent clots from forming in the first place, thus reducing the risk of stroke and other serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, complications with these devices can be just as deadly as the blood clots themselves. As such, manufacturers of IVC filters are facing numerous product liability lawsuits for defective products.
What is the Danger?
It is shockingly common for pieces of IVC filters to break off, find their way to other areas of the body, and puncture organs and veins. According to the New England Society for Vascular Surgery, IVC filters have a 31 percent rate of fracture. In fact, most of these “splinters” migrate to the heart, lungs, or hepatic vein. And the risk of splintering increases the longer the filter remains in the patient’s body. A Boston defective medical products attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed by an IVC filter.
Risks Associated with IVC Filters
These medical devices pose many life-threatening hazards, including:
- Migration of the filter to other areas of the body
- Fracture “splintering” of the filter
- Perforation of organs and veins
- Inability to retrieve filter
- Pulmonary embolism
- Respiratory difficulties
The most disturbing aspect of this new information is that manufacturers may have known the risks and continued to market the filters anyway. Lawsuits allege that Bard knew about the risk of splintering as early as 2003, but failed to report its findings to the FDA, doctors or patients. In fact, Bard continued aggressive marketing of these deadly devices. A MA defective medical products lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by an IVC filter.
Never Intended for Permanent Placement
IVC filters were never intended to remain in the body permanently. They are meant to be retrieved as soon as the risk of blood clots and pulmonary embolism has passed. Bard, one of the manufacturers of IVC filters, allegedly pushed for approval of permanent placement. Although Bard is the leading manufacturer of IVC filters, Cook and B. Braun are also at the center of multiple lawsuits for their defective filters.
Study Reveals Disturbing Results
William Nicholson, M.D., of York Hospital in York, PA, and several of his colleagues monitored 80 patients who received various types of Bard IVC filters between April 2004 and January 2009. Of the patients evaluated, 16 percent suffered at least one arm or strut fracture, 25 percent suffered fractures that traveled within the veins, and in 71 percent of the patients, a fragment traveled to the heart.
“It is essential that patients and their treating physicians be educated about this previously under recognized and potentially life-threatening complication of these devices,” concluded the study’s authors. “Armed with this knowledge, educated patients can be alert to the presence of pleuritic chest pain and other symptoms that should prompt immediate evaluation. Such early awareness and evaluation could certainly be life saving. In addition, the propensity for filter fragmentation may be directly related to the duration of implantation. Patients and their physicians should be educated about this fact so that they have the opportunity to consider having the filter removed.”
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Top Medical Device Failure Law Firm
If you have been injured by an IVC filter or any type of defective medical product, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. It is unacceptable for pharmaceutical and medical device companies to put profits before the health and safety of patients. Bard, Cook, B. Braun and other negligent manufacturers should be held accountable for their actions. At Altman & Altman, LLP, our experienced, knowledgeable attorneys have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. We will thoroughly review the details of your case to determine the best legal strategy for moving forward. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.