Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine if there is a difference between complications for totally implantable central venous catheters (ports) and tunnelled external central venous catheters (external CVCs) that result in early removal of the central venous catheter (CVC) in children and adolescents with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL).
Methods: All children hospitalised between November 1996 and December 2007 with ALL who had a CVC were included retrospectively. We analysed data regarding the patient's first CVC.
Results: We included 322 patients. 254 received a port and 68 received an external CVC. There were 102 CVC complications that required removal of the CVC prior to the completion of chemotherapy (65 in patients with ports, 37 in patients with external CVCs). Overall complications requiring CVC removal were significantly less likely to occur in the patient's with ports (p < 0.001). Ports were significantly less likely to require removal prior to the end of treatment overall (p < 0.001) and for specific complications such as infection (p < 0.001) and dislodgement (p = 0.001). However, when adjusted for disease severity there is no difference in premature CVC removal rates.
Conclusion: When patients are risk-stratified for disease severity there is no difference in rates of CVC removal prior to completion of treatment.