When Houston firefighter Jeffrey Pavlock entered the hospital for surgery, his surgeon had determined that he would need to use Cook Celect IVC filter in order to prevent blood clots from reaching the patient’s heart and lungs. The IVC filter was temporary and was supposed to be removed shortly after the surgery.
However, the IVC filter was not removed after the surgery because it had migrated. Doctors were unable to retrieve it seven weeks later. The filter moved and embedded itself in a blood vessel. The Celect filter’s legs also perforated Pavlock’s aorta and small intestine.
A second surgery to remove it was also unsuccessful. Pavlock’s IVC filter lawsuit claimed the device could move or break again. Pavlock said he needed lifetime health monitoring.
An NBC news investigation linked IVC filters to 39 deaths. Thousands of people have reported serious IVC filter complications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The filters are cage-like devices designed to catch blood clots. Doctors place them in the inferior vena cava, which is the largest vein in the body.
Cook’s Celect model is a retrievable version of IVC filter. The FDA recommends removing the filter between 29 and 54 days after implantation.
Complaints say the devices embedded themselves in the inferior vena cava. Other reports say the filters migrated through the body and perforated blood vessels or organs.
In 2016, researchers discovered that this particular IVC filter had a high rate of strut perforations in comparison to a similar device by a different manufacturer.
Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Colorado made their discovery while assessing the retrievability of the Cook Celect and Rex Option IVC filters. They found that while retrieval rates were very similar between the two devices, the Cook Celect had a higher rate of perforations than the Rex Option model. In fact, the Cook device had a 43-percent rate of strut perforation, while the Rex Option had less than one percent.
The findings, which were published in the June 2015 issue of the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, offer even more clinical data about the risks associated with IVC filters. These devices have been used since 1979, but have become more common in recent years. Today, thousands of these filters are implanted every year to prevent pulmonary embolism (PE) in patients diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis or DVT.
The filters are typically recommended for patients who are unable to take blood thinning medications after blood clots have been detected. The devices are placed in the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the body, to prevent blood clots that form in the legs and pelvic area from breaking loose and moving to the lungs. Blood clots in the lungs result in PE, which is a life-threatening condition requiring emergency medical treatment.
Unfortunately, increased use of the devices have also resulted in increased concern over potential complications. Reports of perforation, migration and filter fractures have posed serious adverse events for some patients. The majority of complications have involved migration of the device, where the filter moves to other areas of the body.
If you or a loved one have suffered injury as a result of the implantation of an IVC filter, call Attorney Joe Saunders for a free consultation.
Admitted to both the California State Bar and the Florida State Bar, Joseph Saunders has also practiced in the United States District Court and the United States Court of Appeals. His philosophy is to provide aggressive, quality representation and seek fair compensation for individuals and their families who have suffered injury or death at the hands of insurance companies, large corporations, medical providers or governmental entities.