Introduction: Placement of totally implanted venous access devices, or port systems, in the upper arm is becoming a common practice in interventional radiology. To gain a better understanding of the literature in this area, we performed a search for and analysis of previous publications related to upper arm implantation of these devices by members of interventional radiology departments.
Methods: A review of the literature pertaining to upper arm port systems implanted in human beings by members of interventional radiology departments was performed, assessing publications between the years 1992 and 2014. Only English-language publications were assessed.
Results: Eighteen publications met selection criteria during the time frame reviewed. None of the studies used a prospective, randomized design; rather, all studies consisted of case–cohort descriptions of outcomes for a single device or for multiple devices. Analysis of the available literature for interventional radiology-inserted arm ports was performed. The technical success rate ranged between 93.7% and 100%, with an average of 98.9%.
Conclusions: The high technical success rate of arm port implantation and the elimination of the potential for pneumothorax, hemothorax, catheter pinch-off syndrome, and subclavian and carotid artery injury are strengths of the arm implantation strategy. There was wide variation in the rates of complications detected, in addition to inconsistent study design and study implementation strategies.