Attorneys at Patterson Dahlberg are investigating lawsuits against Bard, maker of the IVC (Inferior Vena Cava) filters, alleging the filters have caused catastrophic harm to patients. These IVC filters, which were intended to save lives, are prone to early failure and can cause permanent, life-threatening injuries to patients.

What is an IVC filter?

Inferior vena cava filters (IVC filters) are implanted in patients to prevent blood clots from traveling to the patient’s lungs. The IVC filters are implanted in the inferior vena cava (a vein that takes blood from the lower body to the heart) during a surgery. The IVC filter looks almost spider-like, with legs that are designed to catch any blood clots making their way to the heart and lungs.

Who are IVC filters implanted in?

IVC filters are used for patients who are at risk of deep vein thrombosis. Retrievable IVC filters are meant to be implanted temporarily in patients who have a short-term risk—such as those who have been in a car accident or suffered a traumatic injury— while permanent filters are meant to be used long-term; leaving an IVC filter implanted longer than its intended use increases the risk that of IVC filter failure.

What are IVC filter complications?

There are a variety of complications linked to the IVC filter:

  • Migration

  • Thrombosis

  • Fracture

  • Perforation

Each of these can lead to fatal injuries or permanent damage.

Filter Migration

IVC filter migration occurs when the filter moves from the spot it was implanted. This can cause it to block blood flow, damage the inferior vena cava, or other significant harm. Furthermore, if the filter has migrated, it can become more difficult for a doctor to remove, increasing the time the filter remains implanted and raising the risk of complication even higher.

Filter embolization occurs when the filter comes loose and migrates to the patient’s heart or lungs. It is a serious form of migration and can cause life-threatening complications.

Filter Fracture

IVC filter fracture refers to situations where part of the filter breaks off. In such cases, the broken part—typically a strut (or leg)—may perforate the patient’s IVC walls or migrate to a different position, also increasing the risk of harm.

Filter Perforation

IVC filter perforation refers to cases where one of the filter’s struts punctures a blood vessel or internal organ.

What are symptoms of IVC filter failure?

Symptoms of issues with your IVC filter:

  • Chest pain

  • Neck pain

  • Abdominal pain

  • Back pain

  • Leg pain

  • Confusion

  • Lightheadedness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Nausea

When the filter moves to the heart and cannot be removed, it can cause additional serious health problems:

  • Hole in the heart

  • Arrhythmia

  • Stroke

  • Internal bleeding

Who makes IVC filters?

The following companies manufacture IVC Filters:

C.R. Bard: Recovery, G2, G2 Express

Cook Medical: Celect, Gunther Tulip

Boston Scientific: Greenfield

Lawsuits against Bard and Cook Medical have been consolidated for pretrial proceedings.

What do officials say about IVC filters?

In 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication after receiving more than 900 reports of adverse events linked to the filters in five years. In some cases, the filter was left in the patient longer than was necessary. The FDA’s warning included recommending that filters be removed as soon as the risk of pulmonary embolism subsides.

In 2014, the FDA updated its safety communication to include further information about the risk of serious complications linked to the filters. Specifically, the FDA updated information related to published research and post-market surveillance studies for the medical devices.

Among the issues the FDA warned are linked to IVC filters are migration, fracture, embolization (where the device or part of the device moves to the heart or lungs), perforation, and difficulty removing the device. The FDA noted that once the short-term risk of pulmonary embolism has passed, IVC filters should ideally be removed anywhere from 29 and 54 days after they were implanted.

Have there been IVC filter lawsuits filed?

Yes, there have been IVC filter lawsuits filed. Those lawsuits allege the manufacturers knew or should have known about the risks associated with its medical device and failed to warn patients or the medical community about the risks. They further allege negligence on the part of the manufacturer or marketer and design and manufacturing defects.

In one lawsuit that went to trial, Bard was ordered to pay $3.6 million to a woman who alleged she suffered serious complications because of the G2 IVC filter.

As of September 17, 2018, there are 4,383 lawsuits consolidated in multidistrict litigation, under MDL-2641 regarding Bard IVC filters. There are also 4,634 lawsuits consolidated in MDL 2570 regarding Cook IVC filters.

Can I file a lawsuit?

If you or a loved one had an IVC filter implanted and suffered serious complications, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney to discuss your legal options. Due to the statute of limitations, the sooner you contact an experienced medical device attorney, the better.

IVC Filter Lawyers

At Patterson Dahlberg, our attorneys understand the catastrophic consequences of defectively designed medical devices. We fight tirelessly for our clients, who have been harmed by medical device companies that put profits over safety. We’ve obtained hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients, and we’ve fought to protect their rights.

If you’ve been injured by an IVC filter—or any medical device—you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer to fight for you. Contact our attorneys today for a no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.