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"Port placement appears to be safe for most infants with low or acceptable rates of intra- or post-operative complications" Ross et al (2021).

Implantable access ports in children


Background: Long term central venous access is necessary for the treatment of several conditions affecting young children. Totally implantable access ports (ports) offer the advantage of containing no external components, thus simplifying their care and maintenance. However, there is no consensus on the safety of port placement in infants (birth to 1-year of age). The aim of this study was to describe complications associated with port placement in infants, including which specific factors may be associated with risk for developing complications among these patients, and thereby assess the safety of port placement in this young population.

Methods: A two-institution, retrospective cohort study identified patients under 1-year old who underwent port placement. Intraoperative, early postoperative (within 30 days), and late postoperative (greater than 30 days) complications were recorded. Multivariate logistic regression models were employed to assess factors associated with port-related complications.

Results: Among 121 patients who received a port, 36 (30%) experienced a complication with a median time to complication of 299.5 days [IQR 67.5-440.75]. Of those, 26 required unplanned port removal. Only 3 patients (2.5%) experienced an intraoperative complication, and 3 patients (2.5%) experienced a complication within 30 days of port placement. A diagnosis of cancer was found to be protective against early catheter malfunction (OR=0.31, p = 0.03). A non-statistically significant trend associated with increased complications for large caliber devices (>6.0Fr) and weight <7-kg (OR 2.20, p = 0.06 and OR=2.26, p = 0.11 respectively) was observed.

Conclusions: Port placement appears to be safe for most infants with low or acceptable rates of intra- or post-operative complications. Smaller patient size (< 7 kg) and larger-sized catheters (> 6.0Fr) may be associated with an increased risk for complications among this population.


Ross AB, Rouanet E, Murphy AJ, Weldon CB, Weil BR. Complications associated with totally implantable access ports in children less than 1 year of age. J Pediatr Surg. 2021 Dec 10:S0022-3468(21)00833-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2021.12.004. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34991865.