IVC Filter Lawsuits Continue to MountSep 28, 2016
Lawsuits filed over inferior vena cava (IVC) filters continue to mount, as plaintiffs await bellwether trials scheduled for next year. A recent lawsuit was filed on behalf of a couple on Sept. 22nd in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana; Cook Medical was named as defendant. C.R. Bard has also been named in IVC filter lawsuits.
IVC filters are a type of medical device placed into the inferior vena cava, a major vein transporting blood from the lower part of the body back to the heart. The filter is intended to catch blood clots before they can become lodged in the heart and lungs. IVC filters can be retrievable, meaning they are to be removed when the risk is no longer present, while others are permanent. Most IVC filter lawsuits involve retrievable filters.
Boston Scientific is another manufacturer named in IVC filter lawsuits. One plaintiff filed a lawsuit this past May alleging injuries with the Greenfield IVC filter. According to the complaint, she alleges pain in her thigh and lower abdomen after receiving the filter. She also alleges suffering from extensive blood clots. Her lawsuit alleges that a CAT scan shows that the IVC filter had become occluded, forcing her to take blood thinners for the rest of her life.
Plaintiffs in the litigation generally allege that IVC filters can migrate from their original location and cause serious injuries. Lawsuits also allege that the fine struts of the device can break free and become lodged elsewhere.
Last month, Health Canada warned of complications with IVC filters. The safety alert reported serious complications, including: caval perforation, caval thrombosis, filter fracture and fragment embolization, intracardiac migration, cardiac perforation, cardiac tamponade, and death. The agency said in many cases these complications occurred when the filter was left for longer than 30 days. Health Canada advised health care professionals to consider IVC filters carefully.
In May 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advised that physicians who implant IVC filters should consider removing them as soon as the risk of pulmonary embolism is no longer present. The agency issued this recommendation after receiving reports of "device migration, filter fracture, embolization (movement of the entire filter or fracture fragments to the heart or lungs), perforation of the IVC, and difficulty removing the device."