• We evaluated the efficacy and the complications of 65 silicone elastomer catheters inserted percutaneously for long-term venous access for administration of chemotherapy, antibiotics, and blood products in patients with metastatic cancer. Treatments were administered either in the hospital or in the outpatient clinic, using a portable infusion pump. The median indwelling time of catheters was 238 days (range, two to 521). The projected duration of catheter function, when the electively removed catheters were censured, was 310 days. Twenty-three catheters were removed because of malfunction, while the remaining either were discontinued electively (20) or were functioning at the conclusion of the study (22). The problems necessitating removal of 23 catheters were inadvertent dislodgement from loose sutures (eight), mechanical damage to the catheters (four), sepsis (four), phlebitis (four), intraluminal blockage with a clot (two), and cellulitis (one). We conclude that silicone elastomer catheters are safe and reliable for extended venous access for cancer chemotherapy. They are easy to insert and remove and can be replaced with a guide wire without requiring surgical intervention.
(Arch Intern Med 1985;145:1208-1211)