Hepatic migration of a catheter fragment followed by disconnection of a totally implantable venous access port

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Totally implantable venous access ports (TIVAPs) are frequently used in oncology patients who require long-term courses of chemotherapy. We report a silent, but potentially hazardous complication of catheter fracture and hepatic migration in a 64-year-old male. The patient presented with a painful, rapid swelling of subcutaneous tissue around the port area during a saline flush. A chest radiograph showed that the disconnected catheter had separated from the port and was no longer in its original location. A chest CT scan revealed that the disconnected catheter was found to be embolized to the right atrium, inferior vena cava and right hepatic vein. The patient was treated successfully with percutaneous transfemoral retrieval of the catheter under fluoroscopic guidance. To our knowledge, there have been no previous reports of migration of the fractured catheter of a TIVAP into the right hepatic vein. This case highlights that the integrity of TIVAPs should de ascertained before chemotherapeutic drugs are administered. (Int J Artif Organs 2008; 31: 1059–61)

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