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Some West Virginia patients have undergone surgery that placed filters in the inferior vena cava (IVC) to deal with blood clots. Unfortunately, many IVC filters have proven to be defective by breaking off small pieces or shifting out of position. Small pieces of broken IVC filter could pierce veins and embed themselves in organs, which has caused several deaths.

Many causes of defective IVC filters

A severe problem could occur in many ways with an IVC filter due to the potential for human error when installing it as well as manufacturer error. Something as simple as a communication problem has caused tens of thousands of IVC filter recalls due to improper implantations. Other recalls have happened due to defective filters that could break or have faulty supporting equipment that poses a threat to the patient. Fortunately, the filters mostly are temporary measures and are not intended for permanent placement. Many potentially faulty filters already were replaced and any damage corrected.

Two recent IVC filter recalls show extent of problem

The FDA previously issued recalls of widely used IVC filters in 2005 and 2013. The 2013 recall was caused by unclear instructions that might have caused some filters to be installed upside down. That recall targeted about 33,000 patients who underwent IVC filter implantations from May 2010 through April 2013.

An August 2005 IVC filter recall targeted a faulty braided sheath that was not tapered properly and could catch on a vein and tear it. That same IVC filter underwent a second recall later in 2005 due to its potential for detaching and allowing a clot to get past and cause either a pulmonary or cardiac embolism. Both recalls show the potential dangers vary widely with IVC filters.

Federal recalls affirm liability issues

The FDA recalls of widely used IVC filters show manufacturers could be liable due to product defects and problems with the filter implantations. An experienced Charleston mass tort attorney can help to hold the right parties liable and build a strong case.