"Intraperitoneal access ports are essential to the delivery of chemotherapy agents into the peritoneal cavity of women with ovarian cancer, but their malfunction and adverse effects are frequently responsible for the failure to complete planned therapy. Complications, such as obstruction of the catheter, infection, leakage, rotation, retraction, and pain, together with bowel and vaginal perforation, cause delays in treatment, patient suffering and the expenditure of medical resources. A wide variety of ports have been used, including vascular access devices and intraperitoneal access devices. This paper reviews the development and use of ports for intraperitoneal chemotherapy, their complications and reported methods of prevention...."
(Blogger's Note: tables are included in the text of the paper)
Table 2. Reported complications of ports used for IP access
(years 1984 through to 2010)
Table 3. Percentage of cases where IP chemotherapy was discontinued because of the port
(years 1994 through to 2010)
Table 4. Port complications causing the discontinuation of IP chemotherapy*
(years 1991 through to 2010)
Influence of surgeon and team experience
"There is a lack of information in the literature with regard to the effect of the expertise of the surgeon placing the ports, and the experience of the support team (including doctors and nurses) in managing the ports and patients to reduce complications and improve completion rates...."
Port complications are significant, and overall, 15% (210/1945) of patients discontinued IP chemotherapy as a result of a port complication, with obstruction (37.6%) and infection (31.4%) being the most common reasons.
Complications such as leakage, retraction of the catheter, rotation of the portal, difficulties with access and perforation of the bowel can be kept to a minimum with careful technique, but they are still not completely avoidable. Although infection may theoretically be reduced by the avoidance of placement during grossly contaminated surgeries, hard data on the influence of associated bowel surgery at the time of placement are lacking, and there is no proven method of preventing the adhesions that cause obstruction to flow. There does not appear to be a difference in the rates of complications between fenestrated or unfenestrated ports, and the choice of port should be at the surgeon’s discretion.
Despite almost 30 years of experience, it remains difficult to identify which patients are going to experience port complications that impact on the completion of IP therapy. More effective methods of preventing complications and improving tolerability, and thus reducing discontinuation rates, are needed.