Background: We aimed to describe characteristics of acute pain related to port-a-cath implantation (PACI) in an oncology department.
Methodology: We prospectively followed 145 patients who received PACI under local anesthesia. Our study asked patients to rate their pain according to a numerical scale immediately after implantation and within 72 hours. Patient and disease characteristics, PACI data, pain peak, and need for analgesic agents were collected. Patients already taking painkillers were excluded.
Results: Median age was 55 years (range = 28–83 years) and 71% were women. Pain after PACI was rated mild by 52.4%, moderate by 35.9%, and severe by 11.7% of patients. Pain peaks were described during introducer insertion (40.7%), venous puncture (23.4%), anesthesia (18.6%), tunneling (5.9%), and suturing (1.4%). Patients with severe pain were significantly more frequently women and had a fast heart rate (≥120 bpm) before PACI (94.1% vs. 68% [P = .018] and 11.8% vs. 3.9% [P = .021], respectively). Within 72 hours of PACI, 56% of patients experienced no pain, 24.1% had mild pain, 6.2% had moderate pain, and 10.3% had severe pain. All patients who needed to use painkillers (39%) used acetaminophen.
Conclusions: Women and patients with heart rate ≥ 120 bpm before PACI should probably be considered for systematic painkillers after the implantation.