Incidence of mechanical malfunction in low-profile subcutaneous implantable venous access devices in patients receiving chemotherapy for gynecologic malignancies

Academic Article


  • Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of mechanical complications associated with low-profile subcutaneous implantable venous access devices in gynecologic oncology patients. Methods: Gynecologic oncology patients with low-profile Port-a-Caths implanted between March 2005 and July 2006 were identified into a computerized database. Patient demographics, operative complications, number of chemotherapy cycles, duration of implantation, and mechanical complications were collected. Primary outcomes included port leakage, catheter fracture, and catheter embolization. Results: 112 patients underwent 115 Port-a-Cath placements with low profile single-lumen plastic ports with Groshong-valved catheters. Mean Port-a-Cath indwelling duration was 197 days (range: 4-395) with a mean number of 12 chemotherapy cycles (range 0-64). The cumulative complication rate necessitating removal or replacement was 15%. Of the 14 Port-a-Caths removed, ten (8.7%) were secondary to mechanical malfunction: one for leakage at the port site, two for catheter fracture, and seven for fracture with catheter embolization to the heart or pulmonary vasculature-most commonly the right ventricle. Patients with embolization were asymptomatic and all embolized catheters were successfully retrieved by interventional radiology without complications. Conclusions: The rates of catheter fracture and embolization have previously been reported to be low in patients with subcutaneous Port-a-Caths, and have not been studied in patients receiving low-profile subcutaneous Port-a-Caths. This study suggests that catheter fracture may be more common (8.7%) and must be considered in patients with malfunctioning low-profile Port-a-Caths. Embolized catheters can be removed by interventional radiology without significant adverse affects. © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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    Author List

  • Subramaniam A; Kim KH; Bryant SA; Kimball KJ; Huh WK; Straughn JM; Estes JM; Alvarez RD
  • Start Page

  • 54
  • End Page

  • 57
  • Volume

  • 123
  • Issue

  • 1