In just under a decade, the use of retrievable blood clot filters skyrocketed 111.5%. But, as the number of blood clot filter implants rise, the concern about life-threatening side effects has increased as well.
If you or a loved suffered complications from an IVC blood clot filter implant, such as severe pain or death, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us at The Eichholz Law Firm to talk to one of our experienced attorneys and find out whether you have a case.
What is a Blood Clot?
Blood clots are a natural part of the body’s function meant to repair a damaged blood vessel wall. A blood clot will stop the blood from continuously flowing out of the body. Unfortunately, blood clots don’t always work this way.
Sometimes a clot may inappropriately develop in an artery or vein, cutting off blood flow in the body. A clot might also break off, travel through the body. This may result in a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening medical condition.
What is an IVC Blood Clot Filter?
A blood clot filter, which is also known as an IVC filter or an inferior vena cava filter, is a small medical device implanted in the largest vein of the body just below the kidneys. The cone-shaped implant is designed to catch an embolism (blood clot) that broke loose from one of the deep veins in the legs.
Once the filter captures the clot, blood is free to flow around the blockage. Over time, the body’s natural anticoagulant functions will break down the clot.
If a blood clot filter is not implanted, the embolism may cause blockage of the pulmonary artery, resulting in chest pain, difficulty breathing, and even death.
Who Needs Blood Clot Filters?
Blood clot filters are not for everyone. Doctors will recommend IVC filters to those at risk of developing venous thromboembolism in the hospital. This is particularly true for patients who have not responded to anticoagulant medication.
Blood clot filters may also be implanted in those who are at risk of pulmonary embolism but can’t undergo anticoagulation therapy.
Finally, patients that already have large clots in the inferior vena cava or iliac veins are also candidates for these filters.
Permanent & Retrievable Blood Clot Filters
With all the perceived medical benefits, it’s no surprise that blood clot filter implants have grown significantly since the 1960s. Yet, as more people receive IVC filter implants, more information about potentially life-threatening risks comes to light.
To better understand the risks, you must first understand the two types of blood clot filters. The first type is permanent. These stay permanently implanted in patients who need long-term protection from blood clots.
The second type of blood clot filter is retrievable—also called optional or convertible. Due to a permanent filter’s higher rate of complications, retrievable IVC filters are more popular. These should be removed after the risk of pulmonary embolism has passed. Retrievable blood clot filters include BARD IVC Filters, ALN Filters, Günther Tulip Filters, and more.
Blood Clot Filter Risks
The risk associated with IVC blood clot filters increases when a retrievable filter is left implanted longer than needed. As time progresses, implants have the potential to cause damage a few ways:
- A filter may move or change position over time. The blood clot filter could migrate to a different part of the inferior vena cava or the heart. This complicates retrieval.
- Despite being designed to reduce pulmonary embolism, IVC filters may actually increase the risk of blood clots forming in the deep veins of the body, such as the legs. In one study, 44% of patients developed deep venous thrombosis after filter implants.
- Perforation of the IVC is another risk. Lacerations caused by the filter can result in significant bleeding.
Aside from these major risks, infection, filter fracture, and pulmonary embolism are all possibilities.
Blood Clot Filter Side Effects
Side effects of blood clot filters can be difficult to spot at first, since the injury often occurs in places away from implantation. Side effects can include but are not limited to:
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain in the neck
- Internal bleeding
- Pulmonary embolism
Why are people filing IVC blood clot filter lawsuits?
Patients need to know about life-threatening risks. Despite the mounting evidence that blood clot filters are potentially unsafe, manufacturers of the filters fail to warn patients and doctors of the dangers. This is unacceptable.
Two IVC filter manufacturers, C.R. Bard and Cook Medical, are at the center of the lawsuits for different reasons, including negligence, manufacturing defects, failure to warn of risks, and misrepresentation. Even the FDA has written about safety concerns surrounding retrievable blood clot filters.
In one case, Kelly Vlasvich and her husband Chris accused Bard of negligence and breach of implied warranty after an implant in Kelly fractured and migrated to different parts of her body. Kelly claims this resulted in “significant medical expenses and has endured extreme pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, disfigurement and other losses, which are permanent in nature.”
Let the Eichholz Law Firm Handle Your Blood Clot Filter Case
If you suffered complications as a result of a blood clot filter implant, you don’t have to suffer. Our product liability lawyers have experience tackling all types of cases, from hazardous products to defective medicine like Yaz.
Our intimate knowledge of the relevant law ensures you have the most qualified lawyers fighting for the justice you deserve. Because we work on a 100% contingency basis and provide free consultation with no obligations, you know we will always do what’s best for you.