Blood clots easily can become a fatal problem if they reach critical organs like the lungs, heart or brain. Anticoagulant medications can help reduce this problem in many patients, but some people are unable to take those drugs due to allergies or other reactions. Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filters may be a solution for many people if their drugs do not resolve a clotting problem, if someone cannot take anticoagulants or, in certain situations when clots are likely, such as following surgery. IVC Filters are not without problems, however, and migration from the point of implantation can pose serious consequences.
Relatively new medical devices, IVC Filters were first used in the United States to prevent blood clots in 1972. The idea of preventing a life-threatening condition called pulmonary emboli (PE) is much older, dating back to 1865, when Armand Trousseau voiced the concept of using a physical barrier within the inferior vena cava to prevent clots from moving to critical organs. By 1930, this concept became a reality with surgical ligation of femoral veins. Eventually, new solutions for this condition led to the creation and use of the Mobin-Uddin IVC filter, in 1970. A revolutionary improvement was made in 1973, with the introduction of the stainless-steel Kimray-Greenfield filter. Later advancements during the 1980s allowed for percutaneious IVC filter placement, and in more recent years, retrievable IVC filters were introduced and used. By 1999, over 49.000 IVC Filters were placed in patients in the U.S.
Several manufacturers offer permanent IVC Filters, including Bard, Cook, Boston Scientific/Meditech, Greenfield, Cordis, and B. Braun. In the United States, B. Braun temporary filters are available, but others are available in other countries, in clinical trials and premarketing programs. Doctors and patients have three types of IVC filters to choose from: permanent, temporary, or optional. As their names suggest, permanent filters are designed to be left inside the IVC for an indefinite time. Temporary styles are removable after a short period of time, because they remain attached inside the vena cava. Optional IVC filters can be left in the patient either for an indefinite time or retrieved when required.
IVC Filter Migration
IVC Filters are an extremely small device that is implanted within a patient’s inferior vena cava, a large vein in the lower leg or neck areas. The device is a type of blood clot trap. Once in place, it has long thin legs that expand to form a type of cage. At the ends of each thin leg are small catches that adhere to the vein walls to hold the device in place. IVC Filter migration occurs when the device somehow becomes damaged and/or detached from the place of implantation and moves through the large vein to another area of the circulatory system.
Parts of the IVC Filter may become fragmented or detached and migrate through the circulatory system. These shards can pierce the vein wall, become lodged in critical organs, or travel through the digestive system to cause problems in that area. When the entire IVC Filter becomes detached and travels through the vein system to become lodged within the heart or lungs or other areas, it may be removed surgically or otherwise retrieved. In some cases, it is left in place and the patient takes anticoagulants, but there still can be many other problems due to this migration.
When IVC Filters are implanted, they are placed within a thin catheter and moved through the large vein until released. At this time, the long legs at one end expand and their ends clasp onto the vein walls. Removal is facilitated by use of a hook or loop to catch the top of the IVC Filter. It is then removed in a reverse procedure. If the filter migrates to another area of the body, it may still be possible to use a loop to catch and remove it. If not, surgical removal would be required.
Migration of the IVC Filter can cause many problems, including death. In one case, a 57-year old African-American man had an IVC Filter migrate into his heart. It was removed, along with several clots that it had caused within the heart, but he died shortly thereafter. These devices are best used only for a short period of time, one to four months, with removal if the clotting issue has been resolved. Newer IVC Filters also are made of different materials that are lighter and more flexible than previous models.
IVC Filter Migration Lawsuits
When products are defective, faulty, or they do not function as promised and bodily injury results, the injured person or their survivors may be eligible to file a Personal Injury Lawsuit to recover fair compensation for damage claims. In some situations, as with many IVC Filters, there are many large class-action lawsuits people may be allowed to participate in. These lawsuits often result in extremely high awards, including punitive awards that total into multi-millions of dollars to the group of plaintiffs.
Many cases have already been heard that claim bodily harm and other damages resulted from IVC Filter Migration.
- Cook Celect filter implanted in 2010 following patient’s knee surgery. Device fractured, migrated to heart. The man later lost consciousness while he was driving and also needed 3 surgeries due to complications.
- Bard G2 filter implanted in 2009. It fractured in 2011 and damaged heart and lungs after parts migrated to various locations in the woman’s body.
- Bard G2 filter implanted in 2006 migrated to woman’s heart in 2008 after it fractured. This cost ongoing heart issues and she must take anticoagulants forever.
Lawsuit claims are very similar, charging the manufacturers with negligence by failing to disclose dangers of these devices. Personal injury lawsuit claims include: pain, suffering, emotional trauma, disability, loss of normal life enjoyment, loss of consortium, lost wages, anxiety and other damages.
Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has had an IVC Filter implanted and that event resulted in bodily harm, contact an experienced Personal Injury Attorney right away. You may be eligible to file for fair compensation and/or join a class action lawsuit in your area. Survivors may also pursue justice. An IVC Filter Attorney who has handled similar cases is your best resource and advisor for this legal action. Call for a free consultation today with our experienced Personal Injury Attorney. We are ready to help you now!