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IVC Filter Injury Lawsuit

Image of an inferior vena cava filter (IVC Filter). Courtesy Wikipedia.

Image of an inferior vena cava filter “IVC Filter” (Wikipedia)

What is an IVC Filter?

IVC filters, or inferior vena cava filters, are medical devices placed into patients to assist with the capture of blood clots. IVC filters are vascular filters placed into the inferior vena cava to prevent the movement of blood clots through the body and into dangerous areas such as the lungs. A blood clot in the lungs is known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). A blood clot that has formed in the legs or pelvic that is at risk of breaking up and traveling to the lungs is known as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The goal of the IVC filter is to prevent a DVT from becoming a PE.

What is a Pulmonary Embolism?

A pulmonary embolism is a blockage of the artery in the lungs. A pulmonary embolism can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, even coughing up blood. A pulmonary embolism can lead to low blood pressure, fainting or passing out, even death.

What is a Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep Vein Thrombosis. Image courtesy wikipedia.

Deep Vein Thrombosis. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

A deep vein thrombosis is a clot in the lower extremities, such as the legs or pelvic. If the blood clot breaks or dislodges, it can travel throughout the body.  When it travels into the lungs it becomes a pulmonary embolism and can result in serious complications or death.

How IVC Filters work

An IVC filter works by forming a net like structure in the inferior vena cava.  This net is too porous to allow blood cells to be trapped, but sufficient to capture any large blood clots that travel through the vein.  Large blood clots can be captured in the structure of the IVC filter, not allowing them to travel further.

Permanent vs Temporary – Types

There are multiple types of IVC filters.  The most common differentiator is whether an IVC device is intended to be Permanent, or Temporary. Temporary IVC filters are also referred to as optional IVC filters or retrievable filters.

  • Temporary: Also called optional IVC filters or retrievable filters, temporary filters are used when a patient is high risk for venous thromboembolic events (VTE), and has temproary contraindication to prophylaxis. Patients can use an IVC filter unto the conditions change and the filter can be retrieved, upon which the patient treatment can proceed using pharmacologic prophylaxis.
  • Permanent: Permanent filters are indicated where patients have permanent conditions that create contraindication for pharmacologic prophylaxis.

IVC Placement

IVC filters are placed into the inferior vena cava, forming a block against clots that flow through the artery.

Abdominal image including inferior vena cava. Courtesy Wikipedia.

Abdomen showing the inferior vena cava. Courtesy Wikipedia.


Video of an IVC filter being removed


IVC Filter Approved Uses

The FDA has approved IVC filters in the United States for use “for the prevention of recurrent pulmonary embolism (PE) via placement in the vena cava in the following conditions:

  • Pulmonary thromboembolism when anticoagulant therapy is contraindicated;
  • Failure of anticoagulant therapy in thromboembolic disease;
  • Emergency treatment following massive pulmonary embolism when anticipated benefits of conventional therapy are reduced; and
  • Chronic, current pulmonary embolism when anticoagulant therapy has failed or is contraindicated”

If a patient does not meet this criteria, the standard treatment is anticoagulants. However, despite not being approved for implanting in patients without a history of pulmonary embolism, many patients are receiving IVC filters as a first line of treatment.

IVC Filter Adverse Events

Adverse events after placement of IVC filters include:

  • IVC filter fracture
  • IVC filter migration
  • IVC thrombosis
  • deep vein thrombosis
  • access site thrombosis
  • caval penetration (vein penetration)

Blood Clots & Alternative Treatment

IVC filters are intended to be used by patients unable to control blood clots using more tested and traditional means. The recommended initial treatment is the use of anticoagulants, or blood thinners, to treat the risk of DVT or PE.

IVC filters can be used for patients that cannot use Warfarin, Eliquis, Pradaxa, Xarelto or other blood thinner medication and have a diagnosed PE or DVT.  If a patient is contraindicated for blood thinners, due to for poor coagulation control, an active or recent bleed elsewhere in the body, or they are planning to undergo major surgery, an IVC filter can be used to provide protection from pulmonary embolism. This protection can either be temporary with the placement of a temporary or optional IVC filter, or permanent in the face of long term coagulation risks.

IVC Filter Brands

Manufacturers of Inferior Vena Cava Filters Include:

  • Boston Scientific
  • B Braun Medical
  • R. Bard
  • Cook Medical
  • Johnson & Johnson

Brands of Inferior Vena Cava Filters Include:

  • Bard Recovery
  • Bard G2
  • Bard G2 Express
  • Cook Celect
  • Cook Gunther Tulip
  • Johnson & Johnson Cordis OptEase
  • Johnson & Johnson Cordis TrapEase
  • Boston Scientific Greenfield
  • B Braun VenaTech
  • B Braun VenaTech Convertible
  • B Braun Tempofilter

IVC Filter Lawsuit

If you or a family member were implanted with an IVC filter, and wish to speak with an attorney regarding an IVC filter lawsuit, contact a lawyer at Levin Simes Abrams for a free consultation. We are currently accepting IVC filter lawsuits, and will investigate IVC filter injuries. Contact us regarding IVC filter litigation by calling us at 1-888-426-4156 (24 hours a day) or by emailing us at [email protected].

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