Objective: To obtain information which might guide vascular specialists and their patients in the choice of site for implantation of central venous access devices (CVADs).
Design: Questionnaire study.
Methods: Questionnaires were sent to 69 patients with cystic fibrosis and 54 (78%) responded (39 females: age 5-63, median 24 years). They had received a total of 79 CVADs placed in the upper chest (60), lower chest (13), thigh (3) and arm (3). Only 46% patients had been offered a choice of site.
Results: Questions about 14 specific areas of disability or concern found problems most frequently with discomfort (54%), wearing a seatbelt (51%), cosmetic appearance (44%), scarring (44%), choice of clothing (42%) and lying in bed or sleeping (42%). There were no significant differences between upper and lower chest CVADs. Patients with upper chest CVADs seldom had any problems with use of their arm (12%). 81% CVADs could not be accessed by the patients, and in 39% of these cases patients would have liked to do so.
Conclusions: Many patients complain of few problems with their CVADs, regardless of site, but half have some persistent discomfort. Cosmetic considerations frequently cause concern and patients should be given choice in the site of their CVADs.