Pain Caused by Malfunctioning IVC Filters

If someone with an IVC filter is experiencing serious pain, it is possible that their filter is the cause. There are a few different ways that complications with IVC filters can result in pain, so it is wise to consult with a doctor to determine the exact reason. If it is in fact the IVC filter causing the issue, then it may be wise to consult with an IVC filter lawyer as well, to discuss possible legal options.

The pain from embedded filters or perforation is most often asymptomatic because people do not have nerve endings in their blood vessels. As such, a filter can pierce all the way through a vein and the person will still have no idea that it has happened.

Abdominal or Back Pain

However, there may be symptoms causing pain, such as the IVC poking into other blood vessels or other organs in the body. Abdominal and back pain are very common and, even now, Bard warns against abdominal and back pain as a potential indication of a problem with the filter.

Any kind of back or abdominal pain—especially if it is associated with particular movements when someone has one of these filters in— is a red flag indicating they need to see a doctor and get the status of their filter checked. If someone is having a problem with it, they need to call a lawyer.

Heart Attacks

IVC filters do not only lead to vague instances of abdominal or back pain. There can be people who think they are having a heart attack because struts from the filter embolized to their heart. There can also be very serious problems with people coughing up blood, heart attacks, swelling in the heart, or swelling in the legs. Any problems like that, that seem cardiovascular in origin, should be a red flag to someone with one of these filters to at least get it checked out so that they know if they have a problem.

Pain in the Legs

Perforation is one possible reason for pain caused by an IVC. Other reasons can be if there is a blocked filter, it may cause swelling in the legs, which can be extremely painful. That often is difficult to distinguish from the underlying deep vein thrombosis or DVT, which is one of the big reasons people get this filters in the first place. They may think it is simply a problem of their DVT and it may actually be the filter causing that.

Evidence that Pain is Related to IVC Filters

While only a doctor can determine if someone’s pain is related to their IVC filter, from a legal and common sense perspective, it is known that these filters cause problems. Studies have shown this to be the case.  There was a 2012 article in the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Journal entitled, “Perforation of the IVC: rule rather than exception after longer indwelling times for the Gunther Tulip and Celect retrievable filters” that addressed this.

These filters do have a great propensity for penetrating through the IVC. What that means is that it may be two or three centimeters outside the IVC. That is essentially, there is a two or three centimeter needle floating loose in the person’s body.

There are reports of this all the time from clients who do not know if they have a problem. They have not gone back to have the status of their filter checked yet, but they know that when they bend a certain way or if they engage in a particular activity, they will get pain in their side or in their abdomen or in their back. It does not have to be, but certainly can be, an indication that they have got a perforation and that strut is poking around on internal organs or other parts of their body. They should call a lawyer, but even more importantly, they should call a doctor and try and get some imaging to check the status of that filter and rule it out, or at least know what is going on.

What to do if Experiencing Serious Pain

Someone experiencing this type of pain should go to their primary care provider. They should explain that they have an IVC filter and ask for the doctor to check on the status of the filter if they can, perhaps through some sort of diagnostic imaging, such as a CT scan, although obviously that is a medical decision for the doctor to make for the good of the patient.