Current chemotherapeutic regimens often require long-term central venous access for their administration. Obtaining a durable form of vascular access in patients with recurrent cancer can be a challenge due to direct tumor involvement and prior surgical, chemotherapeutic or radiation therapy. We describe a case of a peripherally inserted access port in a patient with recurrent head and neck cancer, in whom radiation therapy planned for metastatic mediastinal disease prevented placement of a chest port. At the time of port implantation, venography revealed central venous occlusion. Using mediastinal venography, a collateral pathway to the superior vena cava was identified between the left and right internal mammary veins. By employing this technique, an arm port system was successfully navigated through the collateral pathway percutaneously with the tip of the port tubing placed at the cavoatrial junction. This case illustrates technical nuances and emphasizes the importance of thorough venography when attempting to achieve difficult vascular access.
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