History of IVC Filter Cases

The use of IVC filters has increased dramatically in recent history, but as their use has increased, so has awareness of their issues. This has led to litigation and IVC filter cases, as people who have been harmed by IVC filters have turned to IVC filter lawyers to win them compensation. The history of IVC filter cases can help clarify the current state of IVC filter litigation.

There are cases where a person has a filter fracture and a piece of it lodges in their spine, in their heart, or in their lung. There are cases where people still have recurring embolisms despite placement of the filter. There are cases where people have perforated filters that are piercing their aorta, their duodenum, or other organs in their body, or where they are at risk for that.

These different sorts of situations brought about legal cases because these were unnecessary complications that could have been guarded against and prevented.

The History of Issues with IVC Filters

The problems with IVCs arose or came to the attention of the medical community back in 2001 before retrievable IVCs were on the market. Over the years there were several articles written, and awareness grew in medical literature of the problems that began manifesting. The number of IVC filters being implanted increased dramatically. There were only 2,000 IVCs implanted in the late 1970s. By 2007, according to the FDA, it was up to 167,000 a year and over 250,000 a year by 2012. As the number of implants increased, so did the occurrences of issues.

There were initially some state court cases that were tried on the subject. Multidistrict litigation began in 2014 with the Cook filters and 2015 with the Bard filters.

Timeline of Research Into Filter Issues

These issue are not well hidden at this point, but there may have been some potential problems that the manufacturers could have alerted the public to sooner. Whether they took efforts to hide this information, remains to be seen. Documents in the Cook multidistrict litigation are under a confidentiality order, so they cannot be discussed.

There was an article back in 2001 out of Canada where they showed that, at best, they could demonstrate that filters could be retrieved safely after a median or a mean of nine days. The literature grew over time and, in 2004, there was a study that showed Cook’s Gunther Tulip would stick 16% of the time after an average placement of 34 days.

These are filters that may need to be in place for a week. They may need to be in place for a year, depending on the patient’s condition, and here it was shown that roughly one out of six or seven is already embedding in the IVC after just a month.

A 2007 study showed Cook filters proved irretrievable 20% of the time. That means one out of every five people who went to get one of these retrievable filters ended up not being able to have the filter retrieved when the time came. In 2010, there was a study that showed the recovery of Bard G2 filters had a high prevalence of fracture and embolization. They have been warning about these in the literature to doctors for quite some time, so it is fair to say it was no secret to the industry.

In fact, there is a memo from back in 2004 called the Lehman report where Bard did an internal investigation about problems with its filters and concluded that they had a very real potential for failure. It seems very likely that they have had knowledge about filter issues for about as long as filters have been around. Additionally, it seems likely that they even had some indications before the filters went to market that they were going to have the problems that are now manifesting on a wide scale.

Major Cases Currently in Litigation

IVC filter cases are in multidistrict litigation. This means that there have been some cases in state court, but the two main cases ongoing right now are the multidistrict cases, at least in the Bard litigation. Most of the state court cases have been stayed and everything is proceeding in the multidistrict litigations, including the Cook one in Indiana and the Bard one in Arizona.