Purpose: To evaluate malfunction rates of subcutaneous chest ports placed via the internal jugular and subclavian veins. Analysis and preventive measures to reduce the risk of complication between the 2 sites of venous access will be discussed.

Methodology: Retrospective review of 114 patients with malfunctioning subcutaneous port-a-catheters was performed. Of those 114 patients, 77 had venous access via a subclavian approach, whereas the remaining 37 had internal jugular vein access. Port insertion placement was evaluated and analysis of the malfunction rate was performed.

Results: There were 36 patients with 38 subcutaneous port malfunctions from internal jugular vein access. Thirty-four of 38 complications (89%) were not related to insertion and 4 out of 38 (11%) were related to vascular access approach. Seventy-seven patients with malfunctioning subcutaneous ports placed via the subclavian vein had a total of 127 complications. Twenty-eight of 127 complications (22%) were not related to insertion and 99 out of 127 (78%) of the complications were directly related to venous access approach.

Conclusions: Subcutaneous port placement complications can be avoided by measuring the length of the port catheter under fluoroscopic guidance and positioning the tip within 2 cm of the cavoatrial junction. Also, the jugular vein should be the first site for access unless patient circumstances do not permit this approach.

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