IVC Filter Placement Common Questions FAQ

IVC Filter use has been the subject of recent medical studies and legal actions. There have been some problems with these devices, primarily that they have caused harm or death to some patients. Here are some commonly asked questions about IVC Filters.

IVC Filter – Frequently Asked Questions

What is an IVC Filter?

IVC Filters are designed to prevent blood clots from moving to organs like the heart, lungs or brain. The filter is a type of trap that looks like an extremely tiny strainer, with long, thin metal arms that attach to the large vein in which they are inserted. Each arm has a small claw-like end that grabs onto the vein wall to hold the filter in place.

Why are they used in medical treatment?

IVC Filters are often used in patients who recently had surgery or trauma, and who are likely to experience blood clotting. The filter captures loose clots and prevents them from moving on to critical organs like the heart or lungs. The main purpose of using IVC Filters is to prevent death from massive pulmonary emboli.

Who can receive an IVC Filter?

Patients who cannot tolerate anticoagulant medicines are a good candidate for an IVC Filter, especially if they have acute pulmonary embolism (PE) or above the knee deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is the alternative if anticoagulants cause bleeding complications.

How is an IVC Filter inserted?

Most IVC Filters are inserted into a large vein, like the jugular, femoral (groin), or large arm vein. In previous years, they were implanted surgically, but today’s filters can be inserted using very thin catheters. A fluoroscope is used to guide placement and the unit is then deployed. Exact size and placement of an IVC Filter depends on the individual case and configuration of the veins. After placement is secure, the catheter is removed.

Is an IVC Filter used permanently?

Some models are not retrievable, and placement of some filters does not allow for removal. There are long-term risk factors to consider as well as whether or not the patient can tolerate anticoagulation therapy. Use of a temporary or permanent IVC Filter depends on the expectation of time required to maintain prevention of blood clots. Most are best used for a short term, from 1 to 3 months, and then removed. If the patient cannot use anticoagulant medications, a permanent IVC Filter may be indicated. In 2014, the FDA recommended that IVC Filters should be removed between 29 and 54 days following placement.

What side effects can happen?

There are adverse events associated with use of IVC Filters used long-term. Some members of the medical community attribute this to filters remaining in place longer than required. Common side effects noted include:

  • Fracture of filter parts – these can travel to organs and cause damage or death
  • Device migration – the filter becomes detached and moves
  • Thrombosis at insertion-site or the vena cava
  • Perforation on the vena cava
  • Recurrent DVT or PE
  • Perforation of the duodenum or small-bowel by detached parts
  • Arterial hemorrhage
  • Filter lodges in heart, causing arrhythmia and may require surgery to implant pacemaker
  • Sudden death – from filter migration to heart

What happens to blood clots captured by the IVC Filter?

The device is designed to capture loose blood clots before they cause harm or death. These trapped clots remain in the cage, but normal anticoagulants that are present in the blood flow work to destroy those clots.

What are the risks?

Risks are high enough that radiologists prefer to not use them in patients who do not have a thromboembolic disease. There are some related dangers if a patient has an MRI and their IVC Filter is composed of ferromagnetic materials. Most are not, but a few are weakly ferromagnetic. Additional risks include dislodging of the hooks that hold the device in place, tearing of the vein and fracturing of the metal parts. Risks can also occur if removal is attempted after the device has been in place long enough for IVC wall cells to overgrow the device. The device may shift placement after insertion; clots may bypass the IVC Filter.

Has there been any legal action against IVC Filter manufacturers?

Yes, several manufactures have been the subject of individual and class-action lawsuits over IVC Filter performance, side effects and patient deaths. Two manufacturers, C.R. Bard and Cook Medical have been the target of litigation. Claims charge negligence, failure to warn consumers of dangers, defects in design and manufacturing, breach of implied warranty and that these companies and their subsidiaries were guilty of negligent misrepresentation.

Problems were cited in these filters:

  • Band Recovery
  • Bard G2
  • Bard G2 Express
  • Cook Gunther Tulip
  • Cook Celect

How long do I have to file an IVC Filter Lawsuit?

Each state has its own statute of limitations, or time limit, for filing lawsuits. Even if you miss that time limit, legal action may be possible. Our Personal Injury Attorney can help you determine your eligibility to file or join an existing class-action lawsuit. Do not wait if you have any concerns about eligibility; contact your IVC Filter Attorney immediately.

How do I file a Lawsuit?

The first step is to consult with an attorney. Even if you can file independently, working with a professional legal counselor is the best way to accomplish your goals and receive maximum awards from a lawsuit. Bring all related information, reports, evidence and other materials related to your complaint with you to your first consultation. Once you decide upon a course of legal action, your attorney will do all the work needed to obtain the best possible outcome from your case.

IVC Filter Lawsuit Attorney

When you or loved ones are harmed by products that are defective, that do not work as promised or that cause death, filing a lawsuit to recover fair compensation for your economic and non-economic damages can help you recover from losses. An experienced Personal Injury Attorney is the right professional to consult immediately, as soon as the damage is noted. Our IVC Filter Lawsuit Attorney is ready to represent you in settlement negotiations or in courtroom litigation. You may be able to participate in an on-going class-action lawsuit also. We can help; call today to get started.