How can you know if symptoms are related to an IVC filter?

Hello, I have written before regarding a friend. She had pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade in 2011. She still has energy problems and her heart rate can go into the 130s when climbing the stairs with her laundry. She has also been diagnosed with an immune deficiency. I have seen online more instances of effusion and tamponade being caused by IVC filter fractures. She had one placed in 2010 before her tamponade/effusion. Could some of her symptoms still be due to a piece of the IVC filter in or around her heart? (even though they never found one). Is there any surgery to remove a piece of an IVC filter if they should ever find one?

Submitted by Paul Imbert from Kenmore, New York on 11/19/2014

While there have been reports and publications describing segments of IVC filters broken off, it would be somewhat difficult to associate this with feeling of low energy and fast heart rate. In addition, the mentioned “immune deficiency” (presumably referring to autoimmune disease) is a well known cause of pericardial effusion and even cardiac tamponade in extreme cases, as well as general symptoms of tiredness and feeling unwell. The best way to proceed is to for the patient to communicate with her attending physician, describing the symptoms and potential concerns.
With the advancement in imaging technology, X-ray or computed tomography could be used to visualize the IVC filter and to determine if the entire filter is structurally intact or not, with 3-D reconstruction, at the expense of some radiation exposure.