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IVC Filter Side Effects: Filter Perforates the Heart

Posted on April 22, 2016

Blood clots that form in the pelvis or arms and legs are referred to as deep vein thrombosis. In and of themselves, these clots are not usually life threatening. However, if a deep vein thrombosis clot breaks free and migrates to the lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism, a serious blood clot that cuts blood flow to the lungs. This can be fatal.

One type of preventative treatment used for patients with high risk of blood clots is the inferior vena cava filter (IVC filter). An IVC filter is an expandable, spider like device that is inserted into the inferior vena cava, the largest vein in the human body. The inferior vena cava brings de-oxygenated blood from the lower body into the heart and lungs. An IVC filter prevents any blood clots from reaching these organs.

But serious problems have been reported involving IVC filters. Sometimes the filters can break apart, causing the tiny metal pieces to puncture veins or other organs, such as the heart. In some cases, the entire IVC filter may migrate to another part of the body. A patient may not be immediately aware that the IVC filter has broken up and entered or punctured an organ, or if the IVC filter migrates out of place. But patients should seek immediate medical attention if they notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Chest Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Heart rhythm problems (such as irregular heart beat)
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of Breath

In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety communication update recommending IVC filters be removed once the risk of pulmonary embolism had passed.

If you have suffered a side effect such as a heart perforation due to a IVC filter, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. To find out more about filing a pharmaceutical litigation claim, contact the IVC filter organ perforation attorneys at Farah & Farah. You can reach us at (800) 553-3555.