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IVC Filters Causing Perforation of Veins and Organs

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Perforation of the veins and organs is one of the most dangerous complications caused by IVC filters. 

When these filters lose their balance within the veins in your body, they could seriously affect your organs and cause even more complicated health conditions.

If you are suffering from perforated veins and organs, our expert team of lawyers at Schmidt and Clark can help you get compensated for damages.

Quick Summary

  • You may not see any symptoms of an IVC filter perforation right away if it only affects your veins and not your organs.
  • Sometimes an IVC filter may have traces of bacteria, which is why taking an IV antibiotic right after the surgery is complete is very important.
  • An IVC filter shouldn’t be left in your body for too long because of possible complications. However, some experts have stated that there isn’t an expiration date for when you should get your IVC filter removed.

How Can IVC Filters Perforate Veins and Organs

Doctor writing downIVC filters can perforate your veins and organs if the filter strut cracks and migrates, penetrating deep into your organs or if it stays in your body for too long.

Some studies have shown that persistent abdominal pain is usually the first sign that an IVC filter insertion may have perforated your organ [1].

To better understand how an IVC filter may perforate your organ, you first need to understand what it is and how it is placed within your body.

The inferior vena cava filter is a device that is shaped like the top of an umbrella with metal prongs known as struts.

These inferior vena cava filters are inserted into a body cavity, typically the neck, and firmly implanted into the vena cava vein walls with the aid of a catheter.

The filter then ensures proper blood flow to keep away blood clots from your heart and lungs.

The issue arises if the filter penetrates your vein walls too deeply, if the strut opens abruptly, or if physical actions from you, like your breathing or heartbeat, occur.

Also, the struts could cause your vein walls to tear, paving the way for the IVC filter to extend toward your organs, causing deep perforations and, in turn, complicated health problems.

Related Article: IVC Filter Lawsuit 2023 Update

Medical Challenges of a Vein or Organ Perforated by an IVC Filter

Perforated organs and veins by inferior vena cava filters can lead to you having medical problems depending on the extent of the perforation. 

These medical disorders include internal bleeding, hemorrhage, aneurysms, cardiac tamponade, venous and lymphatic disorders, heart problems, and clotted blood swelling.

Organs and arteries most likely to get perforated include the small intestine, lumbar artery, kidney, and aorta. 

These perforations, in turn, could lead to more complications such as internal bleeding (pulmonary embolism), abdominal pain, pseudoaneurysms in the lumbar artery or the aorta, abnormal connections with other organs, etc.

Signs of IVC Filter Perforations

Doctor checking a patientThe signs of inferior vena cava (IVC) filter perforations are quite minimal when only the veins are affected. 

At that moment, you might witness severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and chronic chest pain, among others.

Suppose you have an IVC filter perforation that affects veins and organs caused by filter migration. In that case, you might experience glaring signs such as back pain, nausea, internal bleeding, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

It is always advisable that, at this point, you check in with a doctor to know the best possible treatments for these signs and symptoms before they get worse.

Why Organ Perforation Is a Significant Risk With IVC Filter

Organ perforation has always been a significant risk with inferior vena cava filters because there is every chance the filter is defective or the insertion was done wrongly and has been in your body for too long.

Many things could go wrong when this happens, and the filter might fracture and slowly migrate away from where it was initially implanted.

The interesting part is that you may not even develop any symptoms until you are in a much worse condition. 

By then, the inferior vena cava filter has probably succeeded in perforating your lungs, blood vessels, and other vital organs.

This may then lead to internal bleeding and other medical complications that would require emergency treatment.

A Case Report of Multivisceral IVC Filter Perforation

A doctor reading a bookA 29-year-old male with a history of medical complications such as anemia and leukocytosis had an IVC implant because of intestinal bleeding that went sideways over a short time.

Upon close examination, given that he also had a history of abdominal pains, a scan was done on his abdomen to see if it was fully functional as expected.

Doctors then realized the struts of the IVC filter he implanted had lodged within his duodenum, aorta, and Percival soft tissue.

An endoscopy was then done to determine the extent of the filter penetration and to check for other sources of gastrointestinal bleeding.

Two more struts were then discovered within the third area of his abdomen, leading to an emergency operation where the filter and the fractured struts were safely removed,  containing traces of bacteria and fungi.

After the surgery, he was given antibiotics to help treat these infections, and upon full recovery and overall health improvement, he was sent home.

A Case Report of IVC Filter Perforation Through the Duodenum

It was reported that a 67-year-old African American woman had been experiencing chronic abdominal pain for up to four years. 

Upon being tested, the doctors revealed that she had no common symptoms such as nausea, fever, headache, and others but had a history of conditions, one of which included deep vein thrombosis.

It was then found out she had an IVC filter placement in her body which had been there for over five years. 

After confirming that she didn’t take any herbal or over-the-counter supplements, a blood test, and some other tests were run. The results showed that there were foreign metallic materials lodged in her duodenum.

At first, no organs were perforated, and she did not suffer from inflammation or bleeding, but when the doctors tried to remove the retrievable IVC filter, they caused it to perforate her pelvis.

She then underwent surgery where the filter and the metal materials were removed, and her duodenum and pelvis were repaired.

She was given IV antibiotics to prevent infection in her repaired duodenum [2].

“We already knew that centers were doing it [off-label], but we didn’t have the data to show to the broader medical community, and of course to the FDA, that the application of the excimer laser is safe with a relatively short learning curve for the physician to know how to remove embedded IVC filters.”
Kush R. Desai, Interventional Radiologist at Northwestern University

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Can an IVC Filter Cause Death?

An IVC filter can cause death in worst-case scenarios. It could also lead to equally dangerous conditions such as paralysis, bleeding, stroke, and heart attack.

What Are the Complications Associated With Venous Access for Filter Placement?

Complications associated with venous access for filter placement include bleeding, hematoma, accidental arterial puncture, and infection. These IVC filter complications are usually minor, with rates of less than 1%.

Can an IVC Filter Cause a Blood Clot?

An IVC filter can cause a blood clot. Patients with retrievable IVC filters risk developing a blood clot within two years after the filter placement. The possibility of this condition occurring is estimated to be as high as 43%.

What Happens When an IVC Filter Catches a Clot?

When an IVC filter catches a clot, it seals up and creates a series of medical complications, such as swollen legs, leg pain, abnormal internal pressure, etc.

Contact Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one are suffering from perforated veins and organs caused by an IVC filter, you should get in touch with us via +1 866-588-0600 for a free case evaluation.

Our team of attorneys at Schmidt & Clark, LLP will also help you conduct investigations to gather every relevant piece of information that will boost your chances of winning a lawsuit and, in turn, getting compensated for damages.

We believe that victims of defective IVC filters, negligence, and intentional acts of IVC filter manufacturers should be heard and given justice.

For this reason, at Schmidt and Clark, we are more than ready to work with you and help alleviate some of your pain and suffering.



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