Manufacturers designed inferior vena cava (IVC) filters to be temporary, and current recommendations suggest an IVC filter should stay in for the shortest amount of time possible. While they are effective for reducing the risk of blood clots and other embolisms when the patient is in acute danger, doctors should plan to have them removed as soon as the acute risk passes.
How long an IVC stays in can affect how difficult it is to remove it later. These filters remain in place by hooking onto the vein walls and pose risks both during use and removal. Removal may be impossible even when only placed for several months.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Recommends Swift Removal
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends removing temporary IVC filters after 29-54 days. While this is not very long, it should provide enough time for the acute threat to pass or to find another solution that can work on a long-term basis.
Despite the recommendations for quick removal of this type of IVC filter, many of them get placed without a plan to review the patient's status and schedule removal. Because removal is not prioritized, the IVC filter remains in place beyond this time and for the unforeseen future. Complications are possible even when the IVC filter remains in place for only a few weeks. As that time grows to months and years, there is a greater chance of problems.
Complications Are Always Possible with IVC Filters
Inferior vena cava filtration using IVC filters has a risk of complications, no matter how long the device remains in place. While they may work in the short term to prevent embolisms, medical literature includes numerous accounts of serious complications. Potential side effects of an IVC filter include:
- Device failure
- Device migration
- Device breakage that causes embolization
- Vein perforation
- Organ perforation or damage
In fact, complications are so common that more than 9,000 legal cases are pending against manufacturers of these devices alleging injury and other damages because of the device. Many of these plaintiffs required removal or revision surgery, but the surgeon found that they could not remove the entire filter.
Fewer Doctors Are Using IVC Filters, But Many Who Are Do Not Remove Them
The use of IVC filters has gone down over the last 10+ years. This may be in response to complaints about complications and the 2010 recommendation from the FDA that set removal guidelines at roughly between one and two months for most patients. However, according to one presenter at the International Symposium on Endovascular Therapy, removal rates remain surprisingly low.
All too often, these temporary devices remain in place for months or even years. In many cases, the doctor who places the filter never schedules a time to remove the device, and it remains implanted for the rest of the patient's life — or until there is a serious complication that warrants an operation and an attempt to remove the filter.
Thousands of People Have Filed Suit Against IVC Filter Manufacturers
More than 10,000 plaintiffs are pursuing compensation in U.S. federal courts in cases related to IVC filter complications. These cases take on filter manufacturers C.R. Bard, Cook Medical, and Boston Scientific, and allege:
- Design and manufacturing defects
- Failure to warn patients of the risks of these filters
- Breach of implied warranty
- Negligence on the part of the filter manufacturer
In response to these lawsuits, the courts formed two multidistrict litigation (MDL) cases. This allows the plaintiffs to pool their money and resources for consolidated pretrial motions and discovery. The courts consolidated MDL No. 2570 in the Southern District of Indiana against Cook Medical while MDL No. 2641 focuses on C.R. Bard cases in the U.S. District Court District of Arizona.
Both cases are currently in the process of hearing bellwether trials as of May 2019. This gives everyone involved the opportunity to see how a jury will react to the case they present in court before individual cases return to their original jurisdiction.
A jury in Indiana awarded $3 million to one plaintiff whose Cook Celect IVC filter caused them to suffer harm.
Talk to a Defective Medical Device Attorney About Your Case
If you or a loved one suffered complications after an IVC filter stayed in too long or could not be fully removed, the IVC blood clot filter lawsuit lawyers from Tosi & Rose will review your case for free. We may be able to join a mass tort already in progress or pursue compensation in another way on your behalf.
Call 888-311-8292 today for your free case review and to learn more about your legal options.