Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate dual-lumen chest port infection rates in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) compared to those with other malignancies (non-HNC).
Materials and methods: An IRB-approved retrospective study was performed on 1,094 consecutive chest ports placed over a 2-year period. Patients with poor follow-up (n = 53), no oncologic history (n = 13), or single-lumen ports (n = 183) were excluded yielding a study population of 845 patients. The electronic medical records were queried for demographic information, data regarding ports and infections, and imaging review.
Results: HNC patients experienced more infections (42 vs. 30), an increased infection rate per 1,000 catheter days (0.68 vs. 0.21), and more early infections within 30 days compared to non-HNC patients (10 vs. 6) (p < 0.001, p < 0.001, p = 0.02, respectively). An existing tracheostomy at the time of port placement was associated with infection in the HNC group (p = 0.02) but was not an independent risk factor for infection in the study population overall (p = 0.06). There was a significant difference in age, male gender, and right-sided ports between the HNC and non-HNC groups (p < 0.01, p < 0.001, and p = 0.01), although these were not found to be independent risk factors for infection (p = 0.32, p = 0.76, p = 0.16).
Conclusion: HNC patients are at increased risk for infection of dual-lumen chest ports placed via a jugular approach compared to patients with other malignancies. Tracheostomy is associated with infection in HNC patients but is not an independent risk factor for infection in the oncologic population as a whole.