To compare the frequency of infectious episodes or other problems occurring with an externalized catheter (Hickman) versus a subcutaneously implanted device (Port-a-Cath, Pharmacia, Piscataway, NJ) in cancer patients, we performed a prospective, randomized study in 100 cancer patients (age range, 5 to 74 years).Patients who were chemotherapy candidates and required an indwelling catheter were monitored prospectively and evaluated during the 180 days after the insertion of the catheter and again at time of study closure. The frequency of catheter use, reason for access, and any problems that might have been related to catheter use were noted. All data were collected prospectively and included the patient's age, sex, underlying malignancy, temperature, and leukocyte and absolute granulocyte counts at the time of catheter insertion and when complications occurred. The time to and reason for removal of the catheter, as well as any intercurrent infectious or mechanical problems, were also determined.Most of the infections that occurred were caused by gram-positive organisms, especially staphylococci or streptococci. A total of 22 complications (11 in each group) resulted in removal of the central line. Only one infection in the Hickman catheter group and four in the Port-a-Cath group led to removal of the central line. All other infectious episodes were successfully treated without removal of the catheters. The mean device life was 230 days for the Hickman catheter and 318 days for the Port-a-Cath (not significant).There were no differences between the two study groups regarding incidence of documented infections or mechanical or thrombotic complications.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992KA72200017
View details for PubMedID 1453208