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Lawsuits Being Filed on Behalf of Patients Injured by Vena Cava Filters

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By Timothy S. Tomasik

Vena cava filters were introduced in 2005.  Since their introduction, thousands of adverse reports involving these filters have been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The vast majority of these reports involve fragments from the filters immobilizing or migrating in the body causing serious complications or death.

What Are IVC Filters?

IVC filters are cage-like devices that are small enough to be inserted into the inferior vena cava.  The inferior vena cava is adjacent to the aorta and is the main vessel responsible for returning blood from the lower half of the body to the heart.  IVC filters are intended to capture blood clots to prevent them from reaching the lungs.  They look like tiny badminton birdies.

Patients at risk for pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs) frequently have IVC filters placed when anticoagulant blood therapy would not be appropriate.  Often, patients who have sustained catastrophic injury and undergo surgery have IVC filters placed to protect against pulmonary embolism.  Most IVC filters are intended to be permanent implants although some of the devices have the option of being removed in the future.

The FDA has received reports of problems with IVC filters including device migration, fracture of the component parts, and immobilization.  The events reported to the FDA include adverse clinical outcomes such as death, deep vein thrombosis, hemorrhage, perforation of organs and vessels, pulmonary embolism, and severe pain.  The FDA now recommends the removal of retrievable IVC filters unless there is a well-reasoned purpose to keep the IVC filter in place.

In August 2010, the FDA reported that IVC filters are intended for short-term placement and when left in long-term, cause risk of deep vein thrombosis, filter migration, and organ and vessel perforation.

Despite the adverse clinical outcomes and FDA warnings, physicians are not removing IVC filters as directed.  Research demonstrates that the vast majority of the filters remained in patients who no longer required them, with many of those patients suffering complications such as pulmonary embolism.

It is estimated that over 250,000 filters have been distributed and the use of these devices, despite FDA warnings, has not decreased.  Rather, the market value of IVC filters continues to increase.

If you have suffered from a complication related to the insertion of an IVC filter or if you have not had an IVC filter removed, you should protect your legal rights immediately.

Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC is investigating claims on behalf of IVC filter patients and has lawyers available to speak with you about whether a lawsuit is the right option for you or your family.

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