ABSTRACT Objective: The objective of this study is to assess the outcome of port-a-cath (PAC) maintenance every three months in patients with gynecologic malignancies with the goal of standardizing a safe and appropriate interval that would maintain patency and minimize side effects.Methods: We performed a retrospective medical record review and evaluation of all patients with a Bard? PAC who were noted to have no evidence of disease (NED) during the years 2003 to 2010. The interval between accessions and any complications related to the presence of the PAC were recorded. Relevant complications included skin infections, bacteremia, thrombosis, and occlusions. Statistical analysis was done using the Fisher’s exact test.Results: A total of 201 patients had PAC placed and 43 patients underwent PAC accessions to maintain patency. The total number of accessions was 150 with a median number per patient of 2.0 (range 1 - 10). The mean time between flushes was 112 days (SD = 57). When comparing women in maintenance who had flushes within 90 days versus those who had flushes over 90 days apart, there was no difference in infection or occlusion rates between these groups (p = 0.515). In the <90-day group, one patient was noted to have resistance during the flush. In the ≥90-day group, one patient had an occlusion that did not resolve with Alteplase. Another patient had skin erythema with spontaneous resolution.Conclusion: Infections and occlusions are rare in women with gynecologic malignancies undergoing maintenance of their PAC. Longer intervals between PAC flushes do not appear to affect the outcome in our patients. Our ongoing data and follow-up confirm that extending the interval of PAC accession to every 3 months, rather than monthly, is safe, effective and convenient in the patient population with gynecologic malignancies.
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