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 FDA adverse event reports involve IVC filter migration, accounting for 328 of 921 reported complaints from 2005 to 2010.

The Problem with IVC Filter Migration

In rare cases, IVC filters may be necessary to prevent pulmonary embolism. However, experts warn doctors to never recommend IVC filters as the first pulmonary embolism treatment. Surgeons should only implant IVC filters after the patient’s anticoagulant medicine stops working, or fails to break up blood clots.

The problem, however, is that only one-third of these retrievable devices get removed. Leaving vena cava filters in too long allows for IVC filter migration to occur throughout the body, causing unnecessary harm.

IVC filter migration can be subtle change, yet still very harmful. Migration occurs whenever the IVC filter shifts more than one centimeter in a cranial or caudal direction.

Signs and symptoms of device 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 migration triggers:

  1. Mechanical. Mechanical causes typically involve device failure. Surgeons often recognize such issues during surgical implantation. Lawsuits against IVC filter manufacturers for faulty devices are underway due to improper safety testing. Experts suggest they’re actually worse than older IVC filter models made from stainless steel and titanium.
  2. Iatrogenic. Each filter’s manufactured and approved to fit specific inferior vena cava measurements. When filter migration occurs due to Iatrogenic causes, the guide wires become entangled for central venous line placement. In other words, that filter doesn’t fit the vena cava placement.
  3. Physiological. Temporary inferior vena cava dysmorphism can produce physiological changes, including IVC filter migration. Actions such as bending, coughing, or Valsalva maneuvers (straining while lifting heavy objects) may dislodge an IVC filter. A filter that already contains a blood clot in addition to any action performed above may also exacerbate the problem, or induce IVC filter migration.

IVC filter migration can lead to organ perforation as well as other other life-threatening complications.

When Migration Occurs

Many individuals suffered debilitating injuries due to IVC filter migration. Retrievable devices are left in permanently, and newer ones not properly tested pre-market are now deemed faulty. In a worst-case scenario, IVC filters cause the very injuries and health complications they’re meant to prevent.

If you or a loved one suffered an IVC filter migration or device malfunction, you may be eligible for compensation. Because manufacturers have recalled faulty devices, plaintiffs now demand justice as well as pay for their injuries. Learn how to file your own IVC filter lawsuit. Then, fill out your free claim review today to see if you may qualify for financial compensation.