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J Surg Oncol. 1991 Mar;46(3):162-6.

Long-term vascular access via the inferior vena cava.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021.


A prospective evaluation of long-term venous access catheters placed via the inferior vena cava was performed to determine their efficacy as well as short- and long-term morbidity. From June 1987 to May 1989, 31 catheters were placed in 26 patients, for a total of 3,503 catheter use days. All catheters were placed via an infraumbilical approach when the more conventional supraumbilical route was technically difficult, dangerous, or impossible to be used. There were a total of 14 complications in 12 episodes (one in every 701 catheter use days), six episodes of catheter occlusion or vessel thrombosis (one in every 583 catheter use days), one catheter malfunction, one episode of cuff erosion through the skin, and one catheter that migrated through the inferior vena cava into the retroperitoneum. These results compared favorably with our experience with long-term catheters of a similar type placed via a supraumbilical approach into the superior vena cava. We conclude that the infraumbilical route for long-term central venous access is safe and technically easy and should be strongly considered in patients in whom venous access via the supraumbilical approach will be technically difficult or have a high likelihood of failure.

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