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Ann Emerg Med. 2008 Aug;52(2):104-7. Epub 2007 Oct 15.

Bilateral compartment syndrome as a result of inferior vena cava filter thrombosis.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20037, USA.


A 54-year-old man with an inferior vena cava filter in situ presented to the emergency department (ED) by emergency medical services, with acute onset of severe abdominal, lower back, and leg pain. He had fallen from a ladder 3 days before admission. An abdominal computed tomography scan revealed a large retroperitoneal hematoma and evidence of occlusive thrombus in the inferior vena cava, extending beyond the inferior vena cava filter. The occluded inferior vena cava filter caused increased venous pressures and compartment syndrome in the lower extremities. Measurement of compartment pressures in the ED revealed increased pressures exceeding 60 mm Hg in both calves and 75 mm Hg in the thighs. The patient underwent bilateral fasciotomies of the lower extremities within 3 hours. Postoperatively, he developed extensive tissue necrosis and gangrene, requiring bilateral above-the-knee amputations, and acute renal failure associated with severe rhabdomyolysis, requiring hemodialysis. This case highlights the importance of prompt recognition and treatment of inferior vena cava filter thrombosis.

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