IVC Filters and the Hidden Health Risks
I’m Brian Ricci, a product liability attorney. Sometimes people have a cardiovascular condition that causes them to create blood clots. These blood clots can travel to the lung, heart, or brain and cause damage, even death. While there are treatments for the various issues that cause clots, not everyone is a candidate for them. Some people don't tolerate the use of anticoagulants which means their risk of stroke or deep vein thrombosis is high. For these individuals, medicine has come up with the removable IVC filter to catch the clots before they can travel and cause damage. However, poor design of these filters adds to the problem instead of solving it as the metal in the filters eventually breaks down in the body. The potential outcome is the same as if no filter had been installed at all.
What is the IVC and Why a Filter?
IVC is short for inferior vena cava, a major vein that returns deoxygenated blood to the heart before it's sent to the lungs for oxygenation. A blood clot can usually travel through the IVC and lodge elsewhere in the body with adverse results. The IVC filter is placed in the vein to catch the clots before they can go further and cause damage.
Why is the IVC Filter Under Fire?
The filter itself has multiple legs that deploy outwards like a cone from a center hook. It has forks on the ends to anchor into the wall of the IVC and prevent clots from getting past. The problems with the filter stem from the fact it's made from metal that can degrade in the body. The FDA has reported adverse events that include:
- Migration of the filter
- Fracturing of the metal
- Embolization or movement of the filter to the heart or lungs
- Perforation of the IVC
Even though these filters are designed for removable, the FDA has a concern that the filters are not always being taken out for those who have a short-term risk of pulmonary embolism. This means people are put at risk of damage from the IVC filter.
The other major problem that the IVC filter has is its construction. The longer it's left in the body, the higher the risk of metal degradation. A successfully implanted filter can migrate throughout the body and act as a piece of shrapnel floating loose. It can lodge in the same places as the blood clot and create the same medical emergency of a stroke or even death.
What to Do After You or a Loved One has Suffered From a Degraded IVC Filter
Those who have dealt with the trauma caused by an IVC filter that broke loose potentially have what is known as a products liability case under tort law in civil court. Patients in a products liability case can turn to the civil court for relief from the damage they suffered from the manufacturer of the IVC filter. When someone has a medical device put in their body, they have the right to expect that device won't cause them harm. Yet manufacturers often find ways to put devices on the market that are unsafe, and patients suffer as a result. This is where those who are harmed can get some measure of justice for the betrayal of their trust.
Eastern North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer
I’m Brian Ricci, a Defective Medical Devices attorney serving Pitt county and the surrounding areas of eastern North Carolina. If you or someone you know has been injured by an IVC filter, please contact me at 252-752-7785 for free, friendly advice. I maintain a toll-free number at 888-484-6881.
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