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J Pediatr Surg. 2014 May;49(5):763-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2014.02.061. Epub 2014 Feb 22.

Burden of complications from needle penetration of plastic ports in children.

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The Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO.
The Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO. Electronic address:



Complications of totally implanted venous access ports are well documented. A concerning mechanical complication we have encountered is posterior penetration of plastic ports with the access needle. The purpose of this study is to investigate the burden of posterior penetrations.


We performed a retrospective review of all ports placed between November 2007 and December 2011 at a single institution.


There were 247 children who received a port. 117 children (47%) received a port with a plastic posterior wall, 95 children (38%) received a port with a metal posterior wall, and 35 children (14%) had ports that were unable to be identified as plastic or metal. Posterior port penetrations occurred 8 times (3.2% overall, 6.8% of plastic ports). All perforations occurred in plastic ports of a single brand and product code. Average time from port insertion to penetration was 11.2±21.3 months (range 0.3 to 63.4 months). Other complications included catheter malfunction (14), infection (9), pain (2), inability to draw/aspirate (4), leak (3), port migration (2), and malfunctioning not otherwise specified (15).


There is an unacceptably high risk of needle penetration of the posterior wall of plastic ports. We recommend utilizing ports with metal backing to avoid this complication.


Children; Complications; Portacath; Vascular access device

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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