Over the last 10 years, reports of life-threatening and often permanent IVC filter complications have flooded the FDA, prompting a wave of lawsuit filings throughout the country. Much of the litigation has been focused on filter fractures, perforation and spontaneous migration within the body.

Showard Law Firm is committed to holding device manufacturers accountable for design flaws, manufacturing defects, negligent misrepresentation and failure to warn of blood clot filter risks. We believe your injuries, pain and suffering merit justice and have the resources and experience to protect your rights.

Prevalence of IVC filter complications

Patients have experienced a variety of blood clot filter complications that occur during the time of placement, due to a filter defect, or because of late removal. In 2014, the FDA issued a warning calling for physicians to remove retrievable IVC filters within 29 to 54 days of implantation. Temporary devices that are left in the body too long put patients at increased risk for blood clots, pulmonary embolism, organ puncture, hemorrhaging and even heart failure.

According to one peer-reviewed analysis, a mere 1.6 percent of temporary IVC filters were retrieved during a 3-year follow-up period. And 46 percent of study participants implanted with IVC filters suffered penetration of the inferior vena cava and adjacent organs.

According to the research, published in the American Association for the Surgeons of Trauma, IVC filter side effects and health complications are commonplace, but retrieval is rare.  The researchers found that when filter retrieval is finally performed, outcomes are jeopardized by high levels of technical failure rates.

A separate analysis taken from the Kaiser Permanente National IVC Filter Registry underscores the prevalence of long-term IVC filter complications in both permanent and retrievable devices. The retrospective observational study followed 96 patients.

  • 9 percent experienced IVC perforation
  • 5 percent experienced filter fractures
  • 3 percent experienced perforation of retroperitoneal structures


What are symptoms of IVC filter problems?

A malfunctioning IVC filter can cause a variety of signs and symptoms.  When the device migrates, fractures or becomes clogged, medical treatment is necessary. Back and abdominal pain after IVC filter placement remains one of the most commonly reported symptoms.

Other signs of IVC problems:

  • Painful swelling in the lower extremities
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Loose stools
  • Non-bloody vomiting
  • Neck, chest and back pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Irregular heartbeat


IVC filter perforation

Chronic abdominal pain is one of the main symptoms of IVC filter perforation, though some complain of exertional chest pain, nausea and intermittent shortness of breath. When spokes of an IVC filter perforate the vena cava, aorta, duodenum and surrounding structures, patients are at increased risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, aortic pseudoaneurysms, retroperitoneal hematomas and sepsis, which may lead to organ failure and death.

Signs of IVC filter migration

More than half of all IVC filter complications on record involve migration or embolization of fractured devices. When struts break off the filter they can become lodged in vessels and sometimes tear through tissue, causing irreparable damage.

In one case report, a 53-year-old man was implanted with a retrievable IVC filter to treat a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). One week later, the man experienced sharp chest pain and tests showed that the filter had migrated into the heart’s right ventricle and destroyed the tricuspid valve.

Signs and symptoms of blood clot filter migration to the heart include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Lethargy
  • Neck pain
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tachycardia
  • Confusion
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Irregular ventricular contractions
  • Asystole (cardiac arrest)

There are numerous cases where patients are asymptomatic, or their health complaints are misdiagnosed, leaving them at further risk for serious injury. In the past few years, medical professionals have expressed concern that IVC filters are widely overused, and their risks outweigh the perceived benefits.

Recurrent DVT and other thrombotic events are well-recognized complications of IVC filters that are associated with high levels of disease and death.

Take legal action with Showard Law Firm

Thousands of people affected by permanent IVC filter complications have taken their grievances to court, arguing the medical devices were inherently defective and dangerous. Many of these plaintiffs have required open heart surgery, others will require ongoing medical monitoring, and some IVC filter lawsuits have been filed for wrongful death.

If you or a loved one has suffered the effects of IVC filter perforation, migration or other complications, we encourage you to contact Showard Law Firm for a free case evaluation. There are statutes of limitation for filing medical device injury claims, which our attorneys will explain in a one-on-one consultation. Don’t forfeit your right to financial compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering. Call our law office today to explore your options.

Additional Resources on IVC Filter Complications:


  1. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Long-term complications of IVC filters: initial report from the Kaiser Permanente National IVC Filter Registry https://www.jvir.org/article/S1051-0443(15)01528-6/fulltext
  2. ACS Surgery News, IVC filter complications common, retrieval rare https://www.mdedge.com/acssurgerynews/article/78541/cardiothoracic/ivc-filter-complications-common-retrieval-rare
  3. JAMA, Indications, Complications, and Management of Inferior Vena Cava Filters https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1669107
  4. Journal of Medical Cases, Inferior Vena Cava Filter Migration to the Right Ventricle https://www.journalmc.org/index.php/JMC/article/view/240/194

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