The IVC filter recall and subsequent lawsuits affects individuals who have received one of these implants to prevent blood clots from entering vital organs. The filters are used to protect patients who cannot take or tolerate blood thinners from the dangers of clots migrating to the heart, lungs, brain, or kidneys.
Patients who can’t take prescription blood thinners are at risk for clots, which pose serious to fatal consequences. The IVC filters are mechanical devices that trap the blood clot. They’re trapped by spider-type legs that surround the blood vessel. As blood flows through the filter, the clot gradually breaks up.
Physicians insert the filters through the femoral artery in the groin and thread them through to their final destination in the inferior vena cava just below the heart. The procedures take place as outpatient surgery inside or near the radiology departments in hospital settings.
The FDA sent out warnings to doctors in 2010 and 2014 about the safety of long term implantation of specific IVC filters and recommended removal once the risk of blood clots had passed. The agency has recommended that physicians remove the IVC filters from 29 to 54 days after implantation.
Not all doctors followed these guidelines and left the devices in place for months, if not years. Some patients require the filters to prevent blood clots from traveling to vital organs because of their anticoagulant intolerance or have a high risk of clot formation.
Foundation for Lawsuit
Over time, IVC filter recipients have experienced life-threatening and fatal consequences associated with some of the filters. The parts have broken off or cracked, causing tears in the vessels or major organs, some of which have been fatal. The filters have migrated from the inferior vena cava, and even caused clots.
In 2015, a U.S. Judicial Panel opened the door for consolidated lawsuits against Bard in Arizona and Cook in Indiana. Individual lawsuits number in the thousands against Cook and Bard’s IVC filters.
Eligibility for Lawsuit
Anyone who has received an IVC filter manufactured by Cook Medical, Boston Scientific, Bard and Cordis may be eligible for the IVC filter recall and consequent lawsuits. Your medical records should have a record of the manufacturer, filter type, and serial number of the filter, along with its date of manufacture and your implantation procedure.
Not all filter recipients have or will have issues with the recalled devices. If you have such a device, it’s prudent to make an appointment with your doctor to have the filter’s condition and placement checked. If the attending physician is no longer available, ask your current doctor for a referral.