DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.13611 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 13611: Right Ventricular Perforation and Subsequent Tamponade Due to Fractured Inferior Vena Cava Filter Strut

Andrei Minciunescu, Raghav Gattani, Joseph M kiernan, Ibrahim Saeed, Tariq M Haddad, Liam Ryan, Edward Howard
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Description of Case: A 39-year-old woman with a remote history of unprovoked pulmonary embolism (PE) treated with a retrievable inferior vena cava (IVC) filter presented with chest pain and syncope. Initial vital signs and examination were unremarkable. ECG showed diffuse ST elevations with PR depression consistent with acute pericarditis (Figure 1A). Given her history, CT angiogram (CTA) was performed and revealed complex pericardial effusion without PE. Echocardiogram confirmed large pericardial effusion with evidence of right ventricular diastolic collapse, raising concern for impending cardiac tamponade (Figure 1B). Urgent pericardiocentesis yielded 500 mL of sanguineous fluid, with resolution of effusion. A pericardial drain was left in place. Overnight she became hypotensive, tachycardic, diaphoretic, with muffled heart sounds on exam. Rapid re-accumulation of blood was noted from the drain, confirmed by repeat echo showing enlargement of the pericardial effusion. She was diagnosed with recurrent hemorrhagic pericardial effusion (HPE) of unclear etiology and was emergently taken for mediastinal exploration, where a metal shard measuring 2.2 cm was seen protruding though the RV (Figure 1C), confirmed on intraoperative TEE (Figure 1D). It was determined that a fractured IVC filter strut had migrated into the RV causing perforation and recurrent HPE. The strut was removed and RV defect patched. The patient did well post-operatively without effusion recurrence. Follow up CTA confirmed fractured IVC filter strut, with another filter strut also seen extending through the IVC wall (Figure E).

Discussion: Rapid reaccumulation of a hemorrhagic, hemodynamically significant pericardial effusion without clear etiology, as in this case, should prompt consideration of surgical exploration to assess for bleeding source. As strut fractures are a known complication of retrievable IVC filters, these filters should be removed when no longer indicated.

More from our Archive