Sudden cardiac death caused by migration of a TrapEase inferior vena cava filter: case report and review of the literature

Clin Cardiol. 2008 Feb;31(2):84-7. doi: 10.1002/clc.20156.


Case: A 43-year-old female presented with sudden onset of palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath associated with hypoxemia. A helical computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest revealed a large saddle pulmonary embolism. Intravenous tPA relieved the shortness of breath and improved the hypoxemia. Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter (TrapEase, Cordis Corp., Miami, FL, USA) was placed. On day 6 of her hospitalization, she went into cardiopulmonary arrest while walking back from the rest room. The patient died despite a prolonged attempt at cardiopulmonary resuscitation. At that time, ventricular tachycardia and then ventricular fibrillation were recorded. Autopsy of the heart showed the IVC filter entrapped within the tricuspid valve.

Discussion: The incidence of IVC filter migration ranges from 0.3 to 6% with rare migration to the heart or lung (0.1-1.25%). Sudden cardiac death from migration of IVC filter is extremely rare. We report the first case of sudden cardiac death caused by migration of the TrapEase filter to the heart. There are two reports in the literature of death from migrating Greenfield and Antheor filters.

Conclusion: An IVC filter migration to the heart, although rare, can cause serious arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Comorbidity
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Foreign-Body Migration / complications*
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Embolism / therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vena Cava Filters / adverse effects*