Catheter devices are often a convenient option for people who require regular and ongoing testing, intravenous treatment, or transfusions, such as cancer patients who require chemotherapy. They can be left in for months or even years and remove the need for needles which can become painful and frustrating. However, some catheter devices are at a high risk of migration or dislodgement, causing serious injuries as a result.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries because of catheter migration or dislodgement, then you could be the victim of a defective medical device. It is essential that medical device manufacturers are held to high standards and that victims of defective products are properly compensated for the negligent actions of corporations.

A doctor discussing with a patient that their port catheter has dislodged and migrated and how they need to go about correcting the issues.

Contact Holman Schiavone , LLC Today

At Holman Schiavone, LLC, our team of product liability attorneys have a long history of case wins to draw upon. Each member of our team is a fierce negotiator and skilled litigator. That means that we can handle your case, regardless of which direction it takes. Our stellar reputation means that insurance companies know that we will not back down from a fight and are often more willing to offer a high settlement to avoid a costly trial.

We believe that victims of defective medical devices deserve to pursue justice and compensation for both their economic and non-economic losses. We offer a free consultation so that all victims can gain clarity on their next steps. If we believe that you have a valid claim, we will offer to help.

Contact us today at 816-320-6108 to speak to a catheter injury lawyer today.

What is Catheter Migration and Dislodgement?

Catheter migration and dislodgement are serious complications associated with port catheter devices. Cases involving migration and dislodgement are rare but can be the result of catheter malfunction because of a defective port catheter device.

There are many types and models of port catheter devices, but they are categorized by being comprised of two parts:

  • Catheter – The catheter is a long tube that is inserted into a vein for easy access. The most common veins that are used are the right internal jugular vein or the superior vena cava. The catheter material is usually silicone, so it is soft and flexible.
  • Port – The port is connected to the catheter and inserted underneath the skin of the chest or upper arm.

Port catheters allow for convenient intravenous access, which can be used to administer medication or take blood.

Sometimes, the catheter can become dislodged from the port, causing it to migrate through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. A migrated catheter can cause serious injury and may even travel to vital organs, requiring immediate surgery.

Quick detection and skilled surgical techniques could prevent serious complications. However, if not detected quickly or if a catheter becomes lodged in vital organs, then serious injury and in the worst cases, death can occur.

Even if the catheter is removed quickly, it still requires additional surgery, leading to unnecessary pain and suffering. Regardless of the extent of your injuries, you should contact a product liability lawyer who can assess your case. Port catheters should not become dislodged and migrate when used for their intended purpose.

Why Does Catheter Migration Occur?

Catheter migration can occur for different reasons, including improper installation or catheter placement. However, at times, the manufacturer of the port-a-cath device may be liable for catheter dislodgement and migration.

Catheter dislodgement and subsequent migration can occur because of device malfunction as a result of a defective device. For example, most port catheters have a cuff to firmly secure the catheter to the port and to the patient’s tissue. Some manufacturers have not implemented a cuff that secures to tissue, meaning they are more easily dislodged.

What Is Catheter Fracture and Migration?

Another possible complication from a defective central venous catheter is a catheter fracture caused by the degradation of the device. Fractures can lead to fragments of the catheter migrating through the bloodstream.

If a catheter fragment migrates and finds its way to vital organs, then it can cause serious injury and death. It can also cause damage to blood vessels or blood clots that can lead to pulmonary embolism or blocked arteries. In addition, when a catheter has fractured, it creates a breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria.

A fracture can make catheter removal a complicated procedure and often requires invasive surgery.

Potential Injuries From an Implanted Port

Catheter migration and dislodgement, and catheter fracture can lead to serious injuries. Some of the injuries that result from defective implanted port devices include:

Damage to The Heart

When a catheter migrates, it can cause serious complications depending on where it ends up; because of how blood flows, it commonly migrates to the heart, where it can cause:

  • Internal bleeding
  • Heart attack
  • Torn veins that lead to and from the heart
  • Cardiac tamponade

These problems require immediate and life-saving surgery to correct.

Cardiac Tamponade

Cardiac tamponade is a rare but fatal complication that happens when a catheter tip perforates the heart; this is usually caused by catheter dislodgement and migration.

If you have lost a loved one because of a defective port catheter device, then you may be owed compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Catheter Infection

The most common complication from catheter devices is infection. Infections range in severity, causing redness, swelling, fever, and breathlessness. Minor cases can be treated with antibiotics, but more serious cases require device removal and could cause sepsis, a fatal infection.

Although infection can happen for a number of reasons, catheter fractures can cause bacteria to build up, leading to preventable infection and injury.

Blood Clots

Catheter migration or fracture can cause irritation to the vein wall, leading to blood clots. While some can be treated easily, other times, the device must be removed, especially if the device is defective.

Blood clots can lead to:

  • A blocked line resulting in the device needing to be removed.
  • A pulmonary embolism, which is where a blood clot blocks blood flow to the lung, damages tissue and lowers blood oxygen levels. The resulting injuries could be life-long or in the most serious cases, can result in a fatality.


Pneumothorax occurs when air leaks in the space between the chest and lung, causing it to collapse. This injury could also be a sign of a defective device.

How IVC Filters Can Migrate

An IVC filter is a medical device that is implanted into the consumer’s inferior vena cava vein, which is a vein that transports blood from the leg up to the lungs and heart. IVC filters are used to prevent blood clots from traveling up this vein into the lungs, where it could cause a pulmonary embolism, which could be fatal.

IVC filters have been known to fracture and migrate. They are designed to be a temporary solution, so the more stress it is put through, the more likely it is to fracture and migrate. It is surrounded by organs and tissues that can push on the device, leading to degradation

Proving Liability After Migration Dislodgement of Catheter

If you or someone you love has been injured after the migration or dislodgement of a defective port catheter device, then the product manufacturer may be responsible for paying your damages.

In order to secure compensation on your behalf successfully, your port catheter injury attorney will need to prove that the medical device manufacturer behaved negligently. In simple terms, negligent behavior is behavior that is different from how a reasonable corporation would act in similar circumstances. It is reasonable to expect a catheter manufacturer to reinforce their products and ensure that they are safe for their intended use.

Duty of Care

The first step is proving that the manufacturer owed you a duty of care. All medical device manufacturers owe a high duty of care to their consumers and must ensure that their products are safe.

Breach of Duty

The next step is proving that the manufacturer broke their duty of care, meaning that they deviated from standard practice or did not take reasonable measures to keep their consumers safe from harm.

One example could be if a manufacturer was made aware of consumer injuries and failed to properly investigate and protect future consumers.

Proximate Cause

The next step involves establishing what injuries resulted from the defective product. Consumers of port catheters will have a pre-existing condition, making this step difficult to prove. Your attorney may draw upon expert testimony to evidence your claims.


Finally, your attorney will investigate what damages resulted from your injuries, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. They will use this to determine a settlement figure before negotiating it with the liable party.

Defective Port Catheter Examples

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury because of a port catheter and you believe that the device may have been defective, then you should discuss your case with an attorney who has experience navigating product liability claims involving medical devices. At Holman Schiavone , LLC. we offer a free consultation so you can find out if you may have a claim for compensation.

Contact Holman Schiavone LLC For a Free Consultation

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury from a catheter device, then you may be owed compensation. These cases involve large medical device manufacturers with big legal teams at their side. When you hire Holman Schiavone, LLC, you level the playing field.

We are committed to seeking compensation for victims and putting pressure on medical device manufacturers to improve their standards and prevent future injury.

Contact us today for a free consultation, and if you agree to representation, we will get to work quickly to gather evidence and fight fiercely on your behalf.

To speak to an experienced catheter injury lawyer, call today at 816-320-6108.