IVC Filter Fracture

IVC Filter Fracture
IVC filter fracture is a potential complication associated with retrievable inferior vena cava filters. In fact, research has suggested that certain types of IVC filters may be associated with fracture rates as high as 40%. If an IVC filter breaks, the fractured pieces may travel to other parts of the body, resulting in serious and life-threatening health consequences.

Legal Help for Victims of IVC Filter Fracture

Bernstein Liebhard LLP is now evaluating product liability claims on behalf of individuals who may have experienced complications related to certain retrievable IVC filters manufactured by C.R. Bard, Inc. and Cook Medical, Inc., including the:

Please contact our Firm at (888) 994-5118 if you would like to discuss such a case with one of our attorneys.

IVC Filter Complications

Patients are implanted with IVC filters when they are at risk for a life-threatening type of blood clot known as a pulmonary embolism. Such devices are indicated for use in people who are unable to use standard blood thinning medications. Once implanted into the inferior vena cava, the IVC filter will catch blood clots before they are able to travel to lungs.

Since 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued two alerts regarding the risks associated with retrievable IVC filters. The first, which was released in August 2010, came after the agency had received 921 reports of complications involving the devices, including 56 reports of IVC filter fracture. In an updated communication issued in May 2014, the FDA reminded doctors about the importance of retrieving IVC filters once the threat of pulmonary embolism has passed.

When an IVC filer fractures, pieces of the device can become embolized and travel to other parts of the body. This can result in:

  • Cardiac tamponade (build up of fluid around the heart)
  • Hemorrhagic pericardial effusion (abnormal build up of fluid in the pericardial cavity due to trauma)
  • Ventricular tachycardia (a type of rapid heart beat)
  • Perforation of the heart
  • Embedment / erosion of the filter or components into the heart
  • Laceration of the heart
  • Death

IVC Filter Fracture Studies

A growing number of studies have found that certain retrievable IVC filters may be associated with high rates of fracture and migration.

  • November 2010: Researchers writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine warned that the Bard Recovery and G2 IVC filters were associated with “high prevalences of fracture and embolization, with potentially life-threatening sequelae.”
  • February 2012: A study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology reported that the Recovery filter had a 40% fracture rate within 5.5 years of implantation. Of more than 360 people included in the study, only 97 underwent removal of the device. Some of those who experienced fractures of the Recovery filter were seriously injured as a result of pieces that had migrated into the pulmonary arteries, femoral veins, heart, and renal vein.
  • February 2012: Another study published in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology reported that the G2 filter was associated with a 12% rate of filter fracture. The same study also found that only 53.4% of a fractured filter’s struts could be successfully removed from the body, as they had migrated to a position where retrieval was impossible.
  • February 2012: A third paper in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology reported that fractured IVC filter struts are often impossible to remove, with pieces becoming embedded in embedded into the heart, inferior vena cava, lungs, or other blood vessels

Legal Help for Victims of IVC Filter Fractures

Individuals who allegedly suffered serious complications due the fracture of a retrievable IVC filter may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. To learn more about filing a claim in this litigation, please contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP today at (888) 994-5118.

  1. FDA (2010) “Removing retrievable Interior Vena Cava Filters: Initial Communication” http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm221676.htm
  2. FDA (2014) “Removing retrievable Interior Vena Cava Filters: FDA Communication” http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm396377.htm
  3. Archives of Internal Medicine (2010) “Prevalence of fracture and fragment embolization of Bard retrievable vena cava filters and clinical implications including cardiac perforation and tamponade.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20696949
  4. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (2012) “Fracture and Distant Migration of the Bard Recovery Filter: A Retrospective Review of 363 Implantations for Potentially Life-Threatening Complications” http://www.jvir.org/article/S1051-0443%2811%2901426-6/abstract?cc=y=
  5. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (2012) “Fractured Bard Recovery, G2, and G2 Express Inferior Vena Cava Filters: Incidence, Clinical Consequences, and Outcomes of Removal Attempts” http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1051044311013601
  6. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (2012) “Removal of fractured inferior vena cava filters: feasibility and outcomes.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22178038
Last Modified: February 24, 2016

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