NEW YORK – Doctors and attorneys are warning patients of a risky medical device sometimes used to prevent blood clots. According to an NBC News investigation, some of these devices have been associated with further hospitalization, more risky procedures, and in at least 25 cases, death.
The device is called an IVC filter. These metal spider-like implants are placed in the main artery beneath the heart and lungs to protect them from clotting. The filter is meant to act as a trap for clots but it has been document to break apart, releasing small, sharp metal objects into the blood stream.
Investigative journalists with NBC News discovered after the problems with the device began surfacing, one manufacturer hired public-relations giant Hill and Knowlton. The PR firm then developed a crisis management plan, warning that “unfavorable press” could damage stock prices and ruin reputations. The company also retained an outside doctor to conduct a confidential study, which was obtained by NBC News.
The doctor found the IVC filter had higher rates of relative risk for death, filter fracture and movement than all its competitors.
“Further investigation…is urgently warranted,” the doctor wrote in his report.
New York defective product attorneys at Cellino and Barnes say the device has been known to cause further medical treatments but the product remains on the market.
“There could be hundreds or thousands of people with this implant in New York,” defective product attorney Ross Cellino said. “Parts of the metal filter can tear off and pierce vital organs like the heart or lungs.”
Around 250,000 IVC filters are used every year and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned the public of these devices since 2010 but the agency has not removed them from the market.
So far, 27 deaths and 300 other injuries have been associated with one brand of IVC filter alone. With more than 10 different manufacturers putting this product on the market, attorneys say thousands of others face the risk of injury.
“Some patients have described the pain as like a knife being pushed into your stomach,” Cellino said. “In some cases, patients lost consciousness and required immediate surgery to save their lives.”
A company that manufactures IVC filters told NBC News in a statement, “While we can’t speak to the specific details of individual patient experiences, when used as instructed… IVC filters have a safety profile consistent with [published medical guidelines].”
Due to the product’s high risk and dozens of complaints, the FDA now recommends only temporarily using IVC filters to protect against blood clots. The FDA said the device should only be used if medications and other treatments were not effective.
If you believe you’ve been injured by an IVC filter or have any questions regarding the risks associated with these devices, New York defective product attorneys at Cellino & Barnes recommend contacting a lawyer for a free evaluation.