Totally implantable venous access ports (TIVAP) are valuable medical devices for long-term intravenous treatment such as parenteral nutrition, cancer chemotherapy or antiviral therapy. Implantation and use of these devices are each associated with infectious or mechanical complications.
To determine the frequency of complications and to analyze bacterial contamination of different parts of TIVAP (tip, septum, internal lumen of the port).
Clinical charts of patients, which TIVAP was removed between April 20th to December 31st 2003, were retrospectively reviewed. Infectious complications (local and septicemic) and non-infectious complications (i.e. obstruction, thrombosis, drug extravasation...) were defined using clinical and/or microbiological criteria. Quantitative culture from different parts of the TIVAP was performed.
One hundred and ten patients (age 57 +/- 14-years-old, 94.3% cancers) were included, corresponding to 57,018 catheter-days: 39.1% had one or more non-infectious complications (density incidence: 0.86 for 1000 catheter-days). Among the 49 complications, obstruction, thrombosis, extravasations and malposition accounted for 30.6%, 30.6% 4.1% and 6% of cases. Twenty-one patients (19.1%) had an infectious complication: 11 were local and 14 were systemic (density incidence 0.43 for 1000 catheter-days). Bacteria responsible for TIVAP-associated bacteraemia were coagulase negative staphylococci (N = 2), Staphylococcus aureus susceptible to methicilline (N = 3), micrococci (N = 1), corynebacteria (N = 1) or Gram-negative bacilli (N = 8). Comparison of quantitative culture of the different parts of TIVAP with a threshold at 10(3) CFU/ml showed that culture of tip, septum and port has a sensitivity of 47.6% 57.1% and 61.9 %, respectively and a specificity of 100% 92.1% and 92.1%, respectively for the diagnosis of TIVAP infection.
Complications associated to TIVAP are frequent but incidence that we have reported is comparable with previous studies. Analysis of internal lumen of the port is the most sensitive method for the diagnosis of TIVAP-associated infections.