January 23, 2017 — Australian health officials are asking hospitals that implant IVC filters to plan on removing them from patients.
IVC filters are cone- or umbrella-shaped devices that are implanted in a blood vessel called the inferior vena cava (IVC), where they catch blood clots before they travel to the heart or lungs.
Implantation of IVC filters has become commonplace “despite the lack of good quality evidence supporting their use,” according to a Medical Device Safety Update from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA):
“We encourage each health facility to identify all patients who have a retrievable IVC filter placed and to develop a formal strategy to assess these patients for filter removal to reduce the known risks.”
The agency has received 21 reports of IVC filter complications in the 10 years before November 2016 — mostly involving migration, fracture of the filter’s needle-like wire “legs,” and vein perforations.
Three out of four reports (76%) caused a serious injury to the patient, with the rest classified as temporary. There were no reports of death in Australia, but deaths have occurred in the U.S. and other countries.
The TGA said there have been 7 recalls for IVC filters — mostly for manufacturing issues, but also some for movement of the filter.
The U.S. FDA has issued several Safety Warnings and recommends removing IVC filters within 29-54 days, or as soon as the patient’s risk of an embolism has passed.
Health Canada has issued stronger warnings than the FDA — asking hospitals to identify all patients who have been implanted with temporary IVC filters and make plans to have them assessed for filter removal.
Canadian officials also say IVC filters should only be implanted in patients who have been diagnosed with blood clots — Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or a Pulmonary Embolism (PE) — and only if they cannot take a blood-thinning medication instead of having a filter.
In the U.S., where guidelines are far more relaxed, over 2,500 lawsuits have been filed by people who were injured by IVC filters. Many of the victims did not actually have blood clots and they could have taken a blood-thinning medication when the filter was implanted in their body. Most of those “temporary” filters were never removed.
Do I have an IVC Filter Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is evaluating IVC filter cases in all 50 states, regardless of whether you were injured or not. If you or someone you know received an IVC filter implant, please contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
Please use the form below to contact our Defective Medical Device Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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