Radiation therapy of veterinary patients generally involves 5 consecutive daily treatments/wk for 3 or 4 weeks. Immobilization of patients is required for accurate and precise administration of radiation and is commonly achieved by anesthetizing the animal. Intravenous access is desirable in these patients for administration of preanesthetic medications and anesthetic drugs and for administration of fluids to compensate for venodilation and cardiac depression caused by anesthesia. In our experience, use of intravenous catheters in a peripheral vein for patients receiving radiation therapy has been associated with some drawbacks, including an increase in the amount of time required for catheter placement, an increase in the number of staff members needed for inserting intravenous catheters in fractious animals, difficulty in catheter placement after repeated venipuncture, the need for a device to prevent patients from accessing their catheters, client acceptance of catheters for outpatient use, and loss of catheter patency between anesthetic episodes. A review of published data on the use of subcutaneous VAPs in human and veterinary patients supports a system that addresses these drawbacks.1–4 However, implantation and use of VAPs in human patients is associated with a risk of complications. Perioperative complications include malposition of the catheter tip, malfunction, hemorrhage, and pneumothorax. Postoperative complications include catheter occlusion, catheter breakage or disconnection, extravasation, port pocket seroma, port pocket infection, systemic infection, and thrombosis.5,6 Cancer patients may have predisposing factors that increase these risks, such as immunosuppression, recent surgery, and a hypercoagulable state.7 Thus, the study reported here was designed to assess the perioperative and postoperative complications associated with use of VAPs in the jugular and lateral saphenous veins of dogs requiring frequent anesthetic episodes for radiation therapy.
Vascular access port
Normosol-R, Abbott Laboratories, Montreal, QC, Canada.
BD Insyte IV catheter, BD Medical, Franklin Lakes, NJ.
Le Port, provided by CompanionPort, Norfolk Vet Products, Skokie, Ill.
Le Grande, provided by CompanionPort, Norfolk Vet Products, Skokie, Ill.
Hitachi 912 automatic analyzer, Boehringer Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany.
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Kennedy C, Angermuller S, King R, et al. A comparison of hemolysis rates using intravenous catheters versus venipuncture tubes for obtaining blood samples. J Emerg Nurs 1996;22:566–569.
Henry CJ, Russell LE, Tyler JW, et al. Comparison of hematologic and biochemical values for blood samples obtained via jugular venipuncture and via vascular access ports in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:482–485.