More and more, younger Americans have become users of IVC (inferior vena cava) filters, which are surgically implanted devices to trap blood clots and prevent a life-threatening pulmonary embolism when a major artery in the lungs is blocked.
Yet younger Americans also face increased dangers from malfunctioning or defective IVC filters. Those injuries may be the basis of IVC filter lawsuits.
IVC filters should be retrievable, meaning they can be removed from the body after their work is done and the danger of a blood clot has passed. But if not quickly removed, IVC filters can pose risks for patients, especially younger ones.
Actually, it was the advent of retrievable IVC filters in the past 10 years which prompted an increase in younger users of such devices. Until then, patients who were young or middle-aged did not ordinarily receive IVC filters, since they were subject to a greater risk from long-term complications.
Now, with many more younger patients using IVC filters, it’s especially important that such retrievable filters be removed from their bodies, says Frank Lynch, MD, a professor of radiology, surgery and medicine at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. He says such filters may pose significant risks with no clear benefit.
If not promptly removed after a blood clot threat has passed, IVC filters can cause serious side effects or complications. These include puncturing the wall of a blood vessel or fracturing of the filter device, which then can migrate elsewhere in the body.
In fact, defective IVC filters even can cause the blood clots which they are designed to prevent.
These problems can be greater for younger persons since their longer life expectancy means they face a greater chance of long-term health problems from an IVC filter that isn’t removed.
And with such health problems as obesity rising, more young persons are facing dangers of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism, leading more young persons to receive IVC filters to combat such problems.
The National Institutes of Health reports that around one in every 1,000 Americans will suffer DVT yearly, and 1 to 5 per cent of them will die from complications. Also, though DVT is most common in persons more than 40 years old, it can arise in any age group.
In fact, even children may suffer a DVT, and a DVT has the same potential for pulmonary embolism and death for them as when it arises in adults, according to Science Direct.
Standard treatment of DVT in children may be prescribing anticoagulant drugs such as heparin. But when such drug therapy isn’t effective and a pulmonary embolism risk remains due to hemorrhage or a recent trauma, an IVC filter known as a Greenfield filter may be implanted in children instead.
According to a study reported in Science Direct, Greenfield IVC filters may be safely implanted in children as young as 8 years old, and theoretically as young as 6 years old.
However, as other medical experts have noted, the possible threats of IVC filter fracture, perforation or migration when IVC filters are not promptly removed may exist for patients of any age.
Young patients or victims of any age who suffer an IVC filter complication or side effect may be legally entitled to payments for their injury losses. These payments can come with the help of a defective medical device lawsuit.
The law firm of Jim Adler & Associates can help you to assess your chances for prevailing in such an IVC filter lawsuit.
Contact us today, and you’ll receive a free legal evaluation of your case. Let us hear from you — and let us help.