IVC Filter Lawyer

An IVC filter is a cage-like device that is implanted in one’s inferior vena cava, the IVC. The IVC is a large vein that carries blood from the lower part of the body back to the heart—venous blood obviously being a vein.

The filter is implanted in the IVC to trap blood clots that may be a result of deep vein thrombosis that may embolize to the heart or lungs. Basically, it is a basket that a doctor inserts into your inferior vena cava to catch blood clots so they do not reach your heart or lungs.

Types of IVC Filters and Manufacturers

The two big manufacturers who have about 60% of the IVC filter market between them are Bard and Cook and they are subject to multidistrict litigation. There are other manufacturers and there have been problems with people calling in with other types of filters that are not in the litigation.

Cook includes their Gunther Tulip filter and their Celect filter. For Bard, they have had a whole series of filters starting in 2003 that include the Recovery, the G2, the G2 Rex, the Eclipse, Meridian, and Denali, which were marketed in that order.

There has been documented evidence and research that shows these filter manufacturers have known about the dangers and issues of IVC filters for a while.

Potential Consequences of IVC Filter Use

The negative aspects are the pretty substantial failure rates that are seen with particular devices. Some of the injuries include tilted filters, filters that embed or become irretrievable even though they are marketed as a retrievable filter, and filters that penetrate into the IVC or even perforate all the way through the IVC, threatening surrounding organs, vessels, or structures in the body.

There can be migration and, sometimes, embolization to the heart or lungs of the entire filter or, more frequently, you’ll have a fracture of the filter where a piece of it, such as a strut or one of the legs that comes off of the filter, may break away and that presents a problem of embolization where it may embolize to the lungs or the heart.

What to Expect in an IVC Mass Tort Case

There is usually a lot of waiting involved in these cases. In these cases an injured party will get a lot of detailed paperwork that they have to fill out. Oftentimes, the IVC filter attorney may ask people to go and seek out their own medical records or to dig through their own paperwork if they have medical record ID cards for the filter. It is then a period of waiting while the lawyer obtains the necessary information. Often it takes 60 to 90 days to determine the type of filter they have and whether they have a claim, and it gets more detailed as the litigation goes forward.

When to Contact an Attorney for Help

An individual who is experiencing issues with their IVC filter does not need to wait until they have been treated for an injury to contact a lawyer who works with IVC filter cases. There are no nerve endings in the veins in your body. For example, someone can have an IVC filter that is penetrated or perforated all the way through their IVC, their inferior vena cava, and it can be totally asymptomatic.

Looking at the scientific literature, there are articles going back to 2004 and 2007 showing substantial risk. In 2012, there was one where they predicted 100% of Cook filters would perforate the IVC. These injuries often are asymptomatic and, in fact, the FDA has recommended that people do follow up to check on the possibility of retrieval for these filters once the risk of pulmonary embolism has passed.

If people can afford it, or if they have health coverage, it might be recommended that they follow up with their primary care providers and request some diagnostic imaging to check the status of the filter because they may very well have problems they are not even aware of.

What an Attorney Will Want to Know

An IVC filter lawyer will take basic demographic information on their callers. They will talk with them about the date of the filter implant, which is important in these cases because the cases revolve around retrievable filters that did not come onto the market until 2003. Unfortunately, people do not frequently know the type of filter they have, why the filter was implanted in the course of treatment, whether they are experiencing any pain or symptoms, or what kind of problems, if any, that they are having. That basic information allows the attorney working on the IVC filter case to set a provisional limitations period based on where they are in the country and tells them how to triage or prioritize the cases.

The lawyer will then send out information, a packet with more detailed information, which allows them to get the medical records and other information that they need to identify the filter and determine whether they have a viable case.