Clogged IVC filter symptoms are signs that your medical device has captured a blood clot in your inferior vena cava vein. These symptoms should not be ignored, as IVC filters that are clogged with a blood clot should be replaced. Knowing the symptoms of a clogged IVC filter is also important so you do not confuse them with signs that the IVC filter has broken or migrated – situations that could lead to serious medical complications and an IVC filter lawsuit.
- 1. The symptoms of a clogged IVC filter
- 2. Symptoms of a more severe problem with the IVC filter
- 3. What to do if you experience the symptoms of a clogged IVC filter
1. The symptoms of a clogged IVC filter
When an IVC filter has captured a blood clot traveling through the inferior vena cava vein, the filter clogs and creates a host of medical symptoms, including:
- Swollen legs,
- Leg pain, and
- The feeling of internal pressure in the legs.
Clogged IVC filters cause leg swelling because they are implanted in the inferior vena cava vein. This vein is the largest one in your body, and brings blood from the legs and lower extremities up through your abdomen and to your heart and lungs. If a blood clot clogs the IVC filter here, less blood can flow out of your legs. This causes your legs to swell.
Alerting your doctor to these symptoms is important, because IVC filters that have become clogged with a blood clot need to be replaced.
2. Symptoms of a more severe problem with the IVC filter
The signs and symptoms that your IVC filter has broken or has migrated can be close to the symptoms of a filter that has clogged. Knowing the difference can help you and your doctor understand what is going on.
2.1 Severe leg pain
While leg swelling and pain is a symptom of a clogged IVC filter, leg pain that is severe and is not accompanied by the swelling is a sign that your IVC filter may have become dislodged and has migrated into your leg.
IVC filter migration is a serious medical condition, both because the migrating device can cause severe problems wherever it goes, and because it can no longer prevent a blood clot from reaching your heart or lungs and creating an embolism.
Complicating this symptom is the fact that many people who suffer from deep vein thrombosis – one of the indications for implanting the IVC filter – often feel leg pain as a part of their thrombosis. Leg pain related to deep vein thrombosis can mask or cover the severe leg pain that often comes with a migrating IVC filter. Patients with deep vein thrombosis can also disregard the severe leg pain of a migrating device as just another, albeit worse, symptom of their thrombosis.
2.2 Pain in the abdomen or back
If the pain is in your abdomen or back, it can also be a sign that the IVC filter has dislodged or broken and migrated somewhere else. If the pain is severe, it can mean that the IVC filter has perforated a vein or become lodged in an organ.
3. What to do if you experience the symptoms of a clogged IVC filter
If you feel the leg pain and swelling that accompany a clogged IVC filter, you should notify your doctor immediately.
The good news is that a clogged IVC filter means that the filter has done its job: It captured a blood clot in the inferior vena cava and prevented it from reaching your lungs or heart, where it could have caused severe damage like an embolism.
The bad news is that you will likely need to have the IVC filter removed or replaced. The blood clot that is clogging the filter is keeping blood from flowing out of your lower extremities, causing the swelling in your legs. Worse, the strain of holding the blood clot against the flow of blood in your inferior vena cava vein can cause the IVC filter to break down over time. If the IVC filter breaks or fractures, both the blood clot and the broken device can move and cause serious medical problems.