• Inferior Vena Cava Filter Fracture and Migration to the Heart: A Review of the Literature and Case Report

      Bowles, Brad; The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix; Shennib, Hani (The University of Arizona., 2016-04-01)
      Background and Significance: The utilization of IVC filters for pulmonary embolism prevention has increased significantly over the past decade as the indications continue to expand. Although the risks associated with IVC filters are small, a well‐known complication is filter fracture and subsequent embolization of the fragment. Case reports have been published on the devastating effects of fragment migration to the heart, causing intense chest pain, pericardial effusion, cardiac tamponade and death. Research Question: There is a paucity of experience and guidelines for treating patients with a metallic foreign object lodged within the heart. Is there a consensus on the proper management of these cases? How do these patients present and what are the outcomes of treatment? Some clinicians have chosen to observe and monitor, while others have gone to the operating room for open‐heart surgery and retrieval of the fragment. Methods: In an attempt to answer these questions, a systematic review of the published literature was conducted between 1985 and 2015. Only articles related to IVC filter fracture and subsequent fragment migration to the heart were included. The clinical presentation, workup, management, treatment and outcomes were collected as available. Results: A total of 23 articles were published consisting of a prospective study, retrospective series and case reports. There were 37 migrated fragment to the heart reported in 29 patients. The most common clinical presentations were chest pain (69.0%) and no symptoms (27.6%). Regarding treatment, ten patients underwent observation, three had successful endovascular retrieval, 12 went to the operating room for open‐heart surgery and four cases were unreported. Of the 12 patients with reported pericardial effusion, 11 (91.7%) underwent open surgical repair. Of the eight asymptomatic patients, seven (87.5%) were ultimately in observation and the management of the other was unreported. Conclusions: There appears to be a consensus in the literature that observation and close follow up are appropriate options for asymptomatic patients. Symptomatic patients with pericardial effusion may benefit from open‐heart surgery. Cardiovascular compromise such as cardiac tamponade should be managed with open surgery. Based upon these findings and other details in the cases, we have proposed a management algorithm.