IR insertion of chest ports costs nearly half as much as those by surgery

Parag Patel

Research published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology in June suggests that hospital costs to place a chest port were significantly lower in the interventional radiology suite than in the operating room. Patients who were treated by radiology and surgery did not show a significantly different rate of complications and/or infections.

Jennifer R LaRoy, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA, and colleagues including corresponding author, Parag Patel (pictured) set out to compare complications and cost, from a hospital perspective, of chest port insertions performed in an interventional radiology suite vs in surgery in an operating room.


Nearly 480 medical records on consecutive chest port placement procedures in the interventional radiology suite and the operating room were reviewed to glean demographic information and chest port-related complications and/or infections. The investigators carried out univariate and bivariate analyses to identify risk factors associated with an increased complication rate. They then obtained cost data on 149 consecutive Medicare outpatients (100 treated by interventional radiology; 49 treated by surgery) who had isolated chest port insertions between 2012 and 2013.

The investigators found that early complications occurred in 9.2% (22 of 239) of the interventional radiology patients vs 13.4% (32 of 239) of the surgery patients. Of the 478 implanted chest ports, nine placed in interventional radiology and 18 placed in surgery required early removal. Infections from the ports placed in interventional radiology vs those in surgery were 0.25 vs 0.18 infections per 1000 catheters, respectively. Overall mean costs for chest port insertion were significantly higher in the operating room, for both room and pharmacy costs (p<0.0001). Overall average cost to place chest ports in an operating room setting was almost twice that of placement in the interventional radiology suite.