IVC Filters Cannot Prevent Pending Lawsuits

Inferior_vena_cava_filter, by Wikimedia user BozMo, licensed by Creative Commons.

IVC filter

For every new medication or pharmaceutical device, there is a list of side effects. In the case of implantable vena cava (IVC) filters, C.R. Bard and Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. downplayed the risks involved in keeping the filters in bodies extending past a few months. The purpose of the IVC filters is to stop blood clots that may result in death. Despite the caution involved, filters were implanted for long-term use in the 1970s. In the early 2000’s, the FDA approved the short-term use of IVC filters. It was possible for patients to receive the filter implants, even if taking medication was an alternative remedy.

A lawsuit was initiated on April 10, 2017 by a California resident, who received an IVC filter in 2011. She was injured due to the temporary implant. Since then, 1,700 lawsuits have been filed against C.R. Bard and Bard Peripheral Vascular, Inc. The main cause of injury is that the doctors who implant the filters do not make follow up appointments with their patients. As a result, the filters remain in their bodies, leaving them almost impossible to remove.

The difference between a temporary filter and a permanent filer is the material that is used to compose the device. Short-term filters are fashioned from nickel-titanium, whereas long-term filters are generally made of stainless steel or solid titanium. The long-term filter is meant to provide durability, with a stronger resistance to bend or shape.

By the time the plaintiffs in the lawsuits returned to their doctors for follow-up examinations, the filters were embedded in the bodies. The main reason is because the filters were not intended for permanent use. Two to three months after surgery, the filters caused damaging complications, including “perforation of the heart, lung, vena cava, or other tissue; ventricle tachycardia; persistent chest pain or shortness of breath,” and even death. While the doctors, who implant the filters, did not generally take the cautious step of following up with their patients in a timely manner, they were not adequately advised by C.R. Bard to follow that protocol.

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