Doctors commonly insert inferior vena cava (IVC) filters into the body's largest vein in order to reduce a patient's risk of developing a blood clot after suffering an injury or having a surgery performed on them. They're used as an alternative to prescription blood thinners for those at risk for either deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or a pulmonary embolism (PE).
Although they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) back in 1979, they carry with them significant risks.
During the years 2005 and 2010, at least 1,000 complaints came in to the Federal Drug Administration about IVC filters. Most had to do with doctors having had difficulty in removing them or them failing.
Some of the surgical complications patients reported from these medical devices included blood vessel puncture, bruising or bleeding of the access site, infection, incorrect placement, hematoma and defective deployment.
In some instances, patients experienced delayed complications associated with the IVC filter's implantation when the device migrated to their heart or other organs causing them to become perforated. Patients also described developing infections after the device broke inside of their bodies. DVT and PE were both also delayed complications that many developed during the post-procedure period.
Other complications that patients reported happened during the retrieval period. These included blood vessel perforation, scarring or clot formation within the device and embolization of the filter's fractured elements. Each of these made it either dangerous or difficult to remove the device.
When a manufacturer puts a product on the market, a customer's expectation is that it has been thoroughly tested to make sure that it's safe for use. Patients often have even higher standards when it comes to medical devices.
If you've been hurt by a poorly tested product, then you'll want quickly make contact with a Houston defective medical device attorney who can advise you of the applicable statute of limitations in your case.