Comparison of external catheters with subcutaneous vascular access ports for chronic vascular access in a porcine model

Marc S. Chuang, Marcelo A. Orvieto, Brett A. Laven, Glenn S. Gerber, Craig Wardrip, Chad Ritch, Arieh L. Shalhav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We sought to compare the outcomes of two chronic vascular access techniques, the externalized catheter and the subcutaneous vascular access port, in pigs. Female farm pigs (n = 30) underwent placement of a chronic vascular access device in the jugular vein for a research protocol: 18 of the animals underwent placement of a tunneled Hickman catheter (THC), and the remaining 12 animals underwent placement of a subcutaneous vascular access port (VAP) without external components. After placement of the devices, animals underwent serial blood sampling. All animals were given identical antibiotic prophylaxis. VAP access required the use of a restraint sling for Huber needle insertion, whereas THC access required no additional equipment. Animals were euthanatized 1 month after placement of the device. In the VAP group, the port was retrieved, cleaned, and steam-autoclaved for reuse. In the THC group, 13 (72%) animals developed infectious complications, and blood and wound cultures were often polymicrobial. One animal was euthanatized secondary to overwhelming sepsis. In addition, three (17%) animals developed thromboembolic complications. In contrast, no thromboembolic complications were noted in the VAP group, and only one animal developed a transient fever which resolved spontaneously; no septic complications or abscesses developed. Blood draws with no anesthesia were successful in both groups. We conclude that subcutaneous vascular access ports are a safe and efficient method for obtaining reliable chronic vascular access for a 1-month period in pigs. The subcutaneous devices were associated with low morbidity. In contrast, externalized catheters can be associated with considerable morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-27
Number of pages4
JournalContemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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