Background: To assess the utility and safety of three different longterm indwelling intravenous catheters in patients with gynecologic malignancies. Study Design: A retrospective review was performed of the records of all women with gynecologic malignancies who required longterm venous access catheters and ports between 1990 and 1997. Results: Two hundred sixty-eight women underwent placement of 308 indwelling catheters, of which 305 were available for analysis. Of those, 68 (22%) were Hickman catheters, 162 (53%) were infusaports, and 75 (25%) were Peripheral Access System (PAS) ports. Venous access was obtained percutaneously in 152 (50%) patients and by cutdown in 153 (50%). Prophylactic anticoagulation was used with 96 catheters (31%). Catheter placement was associated with 12 (4%) immediate complications and 87 (29%) delayed complications. The average duration of a catheter in place was 5.6 months for the Hickman, 12.5 months for the infusaport, and 16.0 months for the PAS port (p < 0.001). Bacteremia was more likely to develop in patients with Hickman catheters when compared with those with infusaports and PAS ports (19% versus 6% and 5%, respectively, p = 0.002). Thrombosis was significantly less likely to develop in patients receiving prophylactic anticoagulation (11% versus 4%, p = 0.004). Overall, the complication rate was lower with cutdown versus percutaneous access (p = 0.004). There was no statistically significant difference between the frequency of complications when correlated with the stage of disease, patient age, body mass index, or type of malignancy. Conclusions: Infusaports and PAS ports were associated with a lower risk of infection and have a longer life than Hickman catheters. The cutdown approach was associated with a lower complication rate. Low-dose prophylactic anticoagulation should be given to all patients with longterm central venous catheters. (C) 2000 by the American College of Surgeons.
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