Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter Failure

The inferior vena cava is a large vein located in the center of the human body. The inferior vena cava brings blood that is low in oxygen from the lower parts of the body back to the heart. The heart sends the blood to the lungs to capture oxygen. An inferior vena cava (IVC) filter is a small device that can prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs. The device is one method that is used to prevent a pulmonary embolism. When all works well, the IVC filter catches blood clots and stops them from moving to the heart and lungs. Often, however, there is an inferior vena cava (IVC) filter failure, which can cause life-threatening problems.

IVC Filter Complications

When an IVC filter works as it should, it helps to prevent blood clots from traveling to the heart and lungs. But, IVC filters can have numerous complications, making them dangerous medical devices in some instances:

  • Misplacement or bad positioning — when an IVC filter is not correctly positioned during placement surgery, the IVC filter may not be as effective in preventing blood clots and may be more likely to migrate through the vein to another area of the body.
  • Insertion of a defective filter — when an IVC filter is placed in the inferior vena cava, the filter may be placed with legs crossed or not completely expanded into the inferior vena cava.
  • Migration — IVC filters can migrate from the surgical position to another part of the inferior vena cava, to the heart, or to the pulmonary outflow tract. Often, in these cases, the IVC is usually surgically removed using retrieval devices.
  • Filter fracture — Occasionally, filter breakage has been reported with parts of the IVC filter breaking off.
  • IVC perforation — The IVC filter struts can, on occasion, cause a perforation of the inferior vena cava wall. When this happens, significant bleeding can occur. Retrieval of IVC filters also carries a risk of perforation or rupture of the IVC.
  • Thrombosis and pulmonary embolism — Even though IVC filters are intended to prevent blood clots and embolisms, in some cases the risk of these complications has increased with the use of the IVC filter.

Coronal section of inferior vena cava showing IVC filter in place catching embolus. Locator shows body outline with heart, kidneys, inferior vena cava, and box to show location of filter. SOURCE: 6C11844, also used in 60146A locator from 4A11872 1. Merck Manual Home Edition (2003). Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Retrieved from the WWW on 12/1/06 at: 2. Cleveland Clinic (2006). Disease Management Project: Cardiology: FDA-Approved Inferior Vena Cava Filters. retrieved 1/10/07 at: 3) Boston Scientific (2007). Greenfield Vena Cava Filter. retrieved 6/14/07 at:,126,127,128&deviceId=12003 4) Locator:

denali-filter (2) The Ritchie Law Firm is investigating claims against C.R. Bard, Inc. (“Bard”) and Cook Medical (“Cook”) regarding defective inferior vena cava (“IVC”) filters. IVC filters are small, spider-like surgical implants that are placed in the inferior vena cava to limit the migration of blood clots. IVC filters may cause severe complications and could lead to serious injury or death. These complications include:

Filter migration
Filter fracture or perforation

Pulmonary embolism


Compromised respiration


IVC Filter Claims and Awards

Since the medical community became aware of the potential dangers of IVC filters, people who have been injured by the devices have received multi-million dollar verdicts. Here is a listing of recent IVC filter awards:

  • $33.7 Million Argon/Rex Award
  • $3 Million Cook Award
  • $1.2 Million Cook Award
  • $3.6 Million Bard Award
  • $2.55 Million Bard Award

Talk to a Virginia IVC Filter Lawyer

When a large corporation that manufactures or designs medical devices is responsible for causing your injuries, the Ritchie Law Firm is here to help.  Large medical corporations make millions of dollars each year manufacturing dangerous products. DON’T GET HURT TWICE!! The Ritchie Law Firm will make them pay for their recklessness. We have helped thousands of injured people get the money they deserve.

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Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV. 









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