Comparison of delayed complications of central venous catheters placed surgically or radiologically in pediatric oncology patients

J Pediatr Surg. 2003 May;38(5):788-92. doi: 10.1016/jpsu.2003.50168.


Purpose: Pediatric central venous catheters (CVCs) traditionally have been placed surgically, guided by anatomic landmarks. Increasingly, interventional radiology services are inserting CVCs using ultrasound image guidance. This study compares the frequency of delayed complications in CVCs placed surgically or radiologically in a pediatric oncology population.

Methods: Data on CVCs placed in one academic institution over 10 years were collected and analyzed retrospectively. Main outcomes assessed were infectious complications, mechanical complications, and premature catheter removal.

Results: Ninety-eight CVCs-comprising 52 external tunneled catheters (ETCs) and 46 subcutaneous ports-were assessed in 67 patients. Median patient age was 6.1 years for children with external catheters and 7.8 years for those with ports. Both infectious and mechanical complications were significantly more common among surgically placed ETCs than those placed radiologically (P <.05). Complications per 1,000 catheter days and premature removal showed a trend toward greater frequency among surgical ETCs, although this did not reach statistical significance. No consistent trends were seen in complications among ports.

Conclusions: Pediatric patients with CVCs, especially those with external catheters, experience frequent delayed complications. Patients with radiologically inserted ETCs may encounter fewer complications than those with surgically placed ones. This corroborates previous reports in the literature suggesting image-guided CVC placement as a preferable alternative to traditional techniques.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Catheterization, Central Venous / adverse effects*
  • Catheterization, Central Venous / methods
  • Catheters, Indwelling / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • General Surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiology, Interventional
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography