The following are reports from various
patients posting to the hrpca email support group. A chemotherapy
port is officially a central venous catheter (CVC) device. There
are various manufacturers of these devices. An excellent review article
by M. Gallieni et al,
Vascular Access in Oncology Patients, CA Cancer J. Clin
2008;58:323-346 which is available free on-line.
My port was installed October 2003. The oncology
nurses had too much difficulty finding a vein that could be accessed. A
group called, "Interventional Radiology" installed it on the right side,
below the collar bone. Mine is fairly prominent. It is used for
everything - infusions and blood draws. I have had some intermittent
problems with blood draw. The nurses are very careful to avoid
infections. I've never heard of that being a problem. There is some
increased risk of clots associated with it. Maintenance? Not much - they
flush it out before and after use (a small amt (5mg) of heparin is used
in addition to saline).
There is a lengthy analysis of
PORTS and clotting at
-- it is way down the page, so scroll away until you see it. There is also a table indicating where it is best placed.
The right side is better than
Net: a port has been a savior to me
-- I just hope it keeps working and doesn't need to be replaced. The
installation procedure was under sedation -- I was somewhat awake and
asked the radiologist what he was doing at one point -- he said
"tunneling" and to go back to sleep which I did.
After I had a bad taxotere spill I
immediately got a Port-A-Cath implanted. Best thing I ever did!!! I have
had it in my body for 6 years and it still works like a charm. Unless
you have sloppy oncology nurses who donít wash their hands and donít
wear sterile gloves I canít possible see how one could become infected.
And I will tell you that Taxotere spill really hurt my hand. See
And you can read all about Port-A-Cath. See April 4th entry and
read all about it.
I havenít met anyone yet who had
infection problems. And I know a lot of Cancer patients.
My husband, Mark, and I had some fears about ports causing or becoming infected; however, he was
encouraged to get one when he was on adriamycin. He has had the port now
since December of last year and no problems at all. He feels the pros do
outweigh the cons--seems everything we do carries risks.
I am sending this message for Dan.
I pained for him as they prodded and poked his hands and wrists after a
years of chemo. His veins were collapsing and the nurses patiently tried
to find a good vein. Then they would find a vein, but the blood would
come out too slow and they would have to find another vein.
Finally, 14 months ago a nurse talked him into getting a port. We went
into the hospital at 8am, he had the procedure done, and they wheeled
him right into the treatment room for chemo that afternoon. He did have
Although Dan doesn't walk around
w/o a tee shirt, he could. You can't see the port, it is completely
under the skin. There is just a bump under the skin up by the right
As for blood tests or treatments,
what a pleasure for Dan! He has all his blood drawn as well as his chemo
and zometa with the port. After years of needles and pins, it is just
one pin prick and once connected, you can sit and do the crossword
puzzle or read a book with both hands during your treatment!!! Any extra
shots he gets, Lupron or for the blood count, that goes right into the
arm or butt.
It has to be cared for, which the
nurses do before and after treatment. If you are 'on vacation' from
chemo, you still have to go in and have the port flushed out - Dan
doesn't have that problem, he's always having a treatment.
Dan has been very happy with the
It was my husband's experience that
his port was a god-send. He never had any difficulty with it due to it
being used frequently. He used it for Zometa, Chemotherapy, hydration
infusions when needed as well as blood transfusions. An RN can even do
your blood work from the port so that you you only get stuck once during
a doctor/chemo visit. The insertion is an outpatient procedure and
everything went well.
The brand my husband had was a
Bardport, I believe, but the important thing is to be sure it is a type
that is implanted totally under the skin. The nurses were thrilled
because it made their work so much easier and more comfortable for him.
I had my port for 3 years - no
problem. Have an experienced surgeon do it not a trainee. It needs to be
flushed monthly - that is the only nuisance when it is not being used
regularly. Also for more comfort ask for a baby sized one, smaller is
Editor: Howard Hansen
Date: 24 June 2007, 10 April 2009