Implantable subcutaneous chest ports are used in maintaining long-term central venous access. The use of these ports is common in a number of clinical settings, including but not limited to the receipt of chemotherapeutic agents, long-term antibiotics and immunosuppressants. There is concern, however, that neutropenia puts individuals at higher risk of subcutaneous chest port infection and early removal. In this retrospective cohort study, investigators analyzed data on 2580 patients with implantable subcutaneous chest ports in order to examine whether neutropenia status was associated with port infection. Investigators found that patients with neutropenia had a higher rate of infection-related port removal than those who were not neutropenic (3.8% vs. 0.91%, p=0.003). The neutropenic group had a higher rate of infection-related complication (4.4% vs. 1.0%, p=0.004) as well as a slightly higher incidence of death related to port infection, though this was not statistically significant (p=0.22). Taken together, the results from this study indicate that neutropenia at the time of port placement is correlated with a higher rate of infection-related complications and port removal. As such, patients with neutropenia requiring prolonged central venous access may benefit from the placement of alternative tunneled or non-tunneled central venous access until neutropenia resolves.
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