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IVC Filter Perforation

IVC Filter Perforation

IVC filter perforation is one of the most common serious complications of this device. Several studies estimate that up to 25% of people implanted with IVC filters suffer a perforation of their inferior vena cava or other internal organs. Although this does not always cause complications, if the IVC perforates an internal organ (such as the aorta, intestines, etc.) this could cause severe, life-threatening injuries. Most patients require surgery to correct an organ perforation.

What You Can Do & How We Can Help

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently evaluating IVC filter cases in all 50 states, regardless of whether you have been injured or not. If you or somebody you know was implanted with an IVC filter, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. 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.

IVC Filter Perforation

The use of IVC filters has increased dramatically over the last two decades. These devices are placed in a patient’s inferior vena cava (IVC), which is the blood vessel between the heart and lungs. They are intended to catch blood clots before they enter the lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. IVC filters are often implanted in people who cannot take a blood-thinning medication but are at risk of a pulmonary embolism.

IVC filters are designed with thin wires in a cone-shape. The “legs” of the device are also known as “struts,” and these parts of the device can erode into the body, fracture, or cause a perforation. The most common perforation is the inferior vena cava, estimated to occur in 9-25% of cases. Another common perforation is the duodenum (first part of the intestine) or aorta (main artery exiting the heart).

Experts believe that the main cause of IVC filter perforation is pulsation of the aorta and breathing. This can exacerbate the gradual erosion of the IVC filter into the inferior vena cava. Perforation can occur during insertion, but more commonly occurs gradually over several months.

Another severe complication occurs when the IVC filter migrates or fractures, and the broken pieces of the filter perforate the heart, lungs, blood vessels, or other part of the body. This can be life-threatening.

FDA Warnings for IVC Filter Perforation

In 2010, the FDA published a Safety Communication to warn that the risk of IVC filter perforation is highest for people who are implanted with retrievable devices that are not retrieved. Since 2005, the FDA received 921 adverse event reports. Of these, 70 reports involved perforation of the IVC. The FDA recommended that retrievable IVC filters should be removed as soon as the patient was no longer at risk of a pulmonary embolism.

Studies of IVC Filter Perforation

This study published in February 2012 warned that “filter leg perforation occurs very frequently”, and some types of filters are associated with up to a 37% perforation rate.

This study, published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery in 2002, found that “the risk of erosion or perforation is estimated to be as much as 25%”.

This study, published in August 2012, describes the case of an IVC filter that perforated the patient’s aorta and duodenum.

This study, published in August 2012, estimates that perforation of the inferior vena cava by IVC filter struts occurs in 9-24% of cases. The report describes a case where an IVC filter perforated the patient’s aorta.

Complications of IVC Filter Perforation

IVC filter perforation does not always cause severe symptoms. In fact, many patients do not show any symptoms and never have clinical problems. However, there are cases where the perforation can damage surrounding organs. The most commonly damaged internal organs include the following:

  • Aorta: The main artery that exits the heart and supplies the body with oxygen-enriched blood.
  • Duodenum: The first part of the small intestine, immediately beyond the stomach
  • Ureter: The duct by which urine passes from the kidneys to the bladder
  • Retroperitoneal: The abdominal space behind the peritoneum, which is the membrane lining the abdominal cavity and covering abdominal organs

Cook Celect IVC Filter Linked to Perforation

Several studies have linked the Cook Celect with high rates of perforation. In June 2015, a study linked the Celect filter with a 43% rate of vena cava perforation, compared to a 0% rate for the Option filter made by Rex Medical.

In 2012, another study involving 27 patients implanted with the Celect filter found some degree of perforation in every patient after 71 days.

Another study published in 2009 involved 115 patients implanted with the Celect filter. Retrieval rates were good, but in some cases doctors struggled to remove the filter because it had become embedded in the vena caval wall.

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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