Most patients reported being satisfied with the vascular access used for their treatment. Improved education and understanding about the evidence-based requirements for vascular access are needed” LeVasseur et al (2018).
BACKGROUND: The choice of vascular access for systemic therapy administration in breast cancer remains an area of clinical equipoise, and patient preference is not consistently acknowledged. Using a patient survey, we evaluated the patient experience with vascular access during treatment for early-stage breast cancer and explored perceived risk factors for lymphedema.
METHODS: Patients who had received systemic therapy for early-stage breast cancer were surveyed at 2 Canadian cancer centres.
RESULTS: Responses were received from 187 patients (94%). The route of vascular access was peripheral intravenous line (IV) in 24%, a peripherally inserted central catheter (picc) in 42%, and a surgically inserted central catheter (port) in 34%. Anthracycline-based regimens were associated with a greater use of central vascular access devices (cvads- that is, a picc or port; 86/97, 89%). Trastuzumab use was associated with greater use of ports (49/64, 77%). Although few patients (7%) reported being involved in the decisions about vascular access, most were satisfied or very satisfied (88%) with their access type. Patient preference centred mainly on avoiding delays in the initiation of chemotherapy. Self-reported rates of complications (183 evaluable responses) were infiltration with peripheral IVs (9/44, 20%), local skin infections with piccs (7/77, 9%), and thrombosis with ports (4/62, 6%). Perceived risk factors for lymphedema included use of the surgical arm for blood draws (117/156, 75%) and blood pressure measurement (115/156, 74%).
CONCLUSIONS: Most patients reported being satisfied with the vascular access used for their treatment. Improved education and understanding about the evidence-based requirements for vascular access are needed. Perceived risk factors for lymphedema remain variable and are not evidence-based.
LeVasseur, N., Stober, C., Ibrahim, M., Gertler, S., Hilton, J., Robinson, A., McDiarmid, S., Fergusson, D., Mazzarello, S., Hutton, B., Joy, A.A., McInnes, M. and Clemons, M. (2018) Perceptions of vascular access for intravenous systemic therapy and risk factors for lymphedema in early-stage breast cancer-a patient survey. 25(4), pe305-e310.