Safety and Effectiveness of Palliative Tunneled Peritoneal Drainage Catheters in the Management of Refractory Malignant and Non-malignant Ascites

Jennifer A. Knight, Scott M. Thompson, Chad J. Fleming, Emily C. Bendel, Melissa J. Neisen, Newton B. Neidert, Andrew H. Stockland, Haraldur Bjarnason, David A. Woodrum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the safety and effectiveness of tunneled peritoneal catheters in the management of refractory malignant and non-malignant ascites. Materials and Methods: An IRB-approved retrospective review was undertaken of patients who underwent ultrasound and fluoroscopy-guided tunneled peritoneal catheter placement for management of refractory malignant or non-malignant ascites between January 1, 2009, and March 14, 2014. Results: A total of 137 patients (76 M/61 F, mean age 62.9 years) underwent tunneled peritoneal catheter placement for refractory malignant (N = 119; 86.9%) or non-malignant (N = 18; 13.1%) ascites. Technical success was 100% with no immediate complications. Nineteen patients (13.9%) experienced a total of 11 minor and 12 major complications. Nine patients developed a catheter-associated infection. The remaining complications included leakage at the dermatotomy site (N = 8), catheter dislodgement (N = 2), obstruction (N = 2), and groin pain (N = 2). Patients who developed a catheter-associated infection had a significantly longer catheter dwell time compared to those who did not develop an infection (median, 96.5 vs. 20 days; p < 0.01). Nine patients (6.6%) were lost to follow-up. Of the remaining 128 patients, 125 died and the majority had a catheter in place (90.4%) at the time of death. There was one catheter-associated death (bacterial peritonitis; 0.8%). The median time from catheter placement to death was significantly shorter in patients with malignant versus non-malignant ascites (18.5 vs. 85 days; p < 0.0001). Conclusions: Tunneled peritoneal drainage catheters are effective and relatively safe in the management of malignant and non-malignant ascites. Longer catheter dwell time may be a risk factor for catheter-associated infection, particularly in patients with a longer anticipated survival in the palliative setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-761
Number of pages9
JournalCardiovascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Abdominal ascites
  • Drainage
  • Indwelling peritoneal catheter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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