IVC Blood Clot Filter

IVC Filter Migration: How Does It Happen?

ivc filter migration

Surgical implants come with a variety of potential dangers. IVC filter migration is one of the greatest risks patients face after implantation. Over 35% of reports filed to the FDA involve IVC filter migration, accounting for 328 of the 921 reported complaints from 2005 to 2010.

The Problem with IVC Filter Migration

While in rare cases IVC filters may be necessary to prevent pulmonary embolism, experts warn that they should never be recommended as the first treatment for pulmonary embolism. Instead, they should only be considered if the patient’s anticoagulant medicine no longer proves effective, or if the anticoagulant medication is not breaking up the blood clot.

The problem, however, is that these retrievable devices are implanted and only removed a third of the time, allowing them to travel to other areas of the body and cause unnecessary harm.

IVC filter migration can be a subtle change but still very harmful. It is defined as the shifting of the IVC filter more than one centimeter in a cranial or caudal direction.

>Signs and symptoms of IVC filter migration to the heart include:

  • Chest pain
  • Hypotension
  • Dyspnea
  • Tachycardia
  • Premature ventricular contractions
  • Right bundle branch block
  • Asystole
  • Neck pain
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea

In one case, it was reported that the patient presented with symptoms of lethargy and confusion for one week.

Types of IVC Filter Migration

There are three main causes of filter migration:

Mechanical: Mechanical causes involve the failure of the device, the delivery system, or the filter itself. Typically these occurrences are recognized during the procedure when the device is surgically implanted. Lawsuits are being filed against the manufacturers of IVC filters for these faulty devices since they were not properly tested. Experts suggest that they are actually worse than the older IVC filter models that were made of stainless steel and titanium.

Iatrogenic: Each filter is manufactured and approved for specific inferior vena cava measurements. When filter migration occurs due to Iatrogenic causes, the guide wires become entangled for central venous line placement, meaning that the device is improperly sized.

Physiologic: The temporary dysmorphism of the inferior vena cava can cause physiological changes to the IVC filter and cause migration. Actions such as bending, coughing, or Valsalva maneuvers (straining while lifting heavy objects) may dislodge the filter. A filter which is already bearing the burden of a clot in addition to any action above may also exacerbate the problem and induce device migration.

If any of these migrations occur, organ perforation is a risk as well as a myriad of other life-threatening complications.

When Migration Occurs

Many individuals have suffered debilitating side effects as the result of IVC filter migration. Not only are devices not being retrieved, but the newer devices are faulty and have not been properly tested. They could actually worsen conditions rather than improve them.

If you or a loved one have suffered from an IVC filter device migration or malfunction, you may be eligible for compensation. Because the manufacturers have produced faulty devices, thousands of lives have been adversely affected. Learn more about the IVC filter lawsuit and see if you may be eligible for financial compensation.