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J Vasc Interv Radiol. 1997 Nov-Dec;8(6):983-9.

Experience with 100 consecutive central venous access arm ports placed by interventional radiologists.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, The Pennsylvania State University Hospital, Hershey 17033, USA.



This study reports the authors' experience with long-term follow-up of 100 consecutive peripherally inserted, subcutaneous arm ports for central venous access.


One hundred patients with subcutaneous arm ports inserted by interventional radiologists were retrospectively studied. Data were collected from the patients' medical records and from telephone canvassing. Using each insertion period as an observation, the complication rates per 100 catheter days were determined with 95% confidence intervals (CIs).


One hundred subcutaneously implanted ports were placed in 98 patients; three devices (three patients) were lost to follow-up, leaving 97 devices in 95 patients. Total exposure time was 23,842 days (mean, 246 days; range, 2-865 days). Seven infectious and two noninfectious complications occurred with seven (7.2%) devices in six patients (6.3%), yielding 0.038 complications per 100 catheter days at risk (95% CI; 0.011-0.069) and 0.029 infections per 100 catheter days at risk (95% CI; 0.008-0.058). A successful clinical outcome was defined as a functional port at removal, time of death, or at study closure (minimum of 6 months of follow-up), which was not removed because of a complication. This successful outcome was achieved in 91 ports (93.8%). Procedural-related complications, defined as those occurring up to 30 days after insertion, occurred in only one port (thrombophlebitis and catheter tip infection-day 9). All other patients received several months of service from their port. Fifteen devices were placed in 13 patients with HIV for 3,486 days, with a total complication rate of 0.11 per 100 catheter days (95% CI; 0.0-0.28), all of which were infections. Devices in HIV-positive patients were associated with higher total complication (20% vs 4.9%) and infection rates (20% vs 3.7%) than devices in patients without HIV infection. This gives a relative risk 8.17 x (P = .04) greater for infectious complications for devices placed in HIV-infected individuals.


Subcutaneous arm ports placed by interventional radiologists are effective for central venous access with excellent functionality (93.8% achieved a successful long-term outcome) and a very low procedural complication rate. Although infections were more frequent in HIV-infected individuals, these devices are associated with a very low incidence of both immediate and long-term complications, including infection, for all patients.

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