During the last ten years, I’ve had three PICCs, an implanted port, and numerous peripheral IVs for various infusion therapies. One of the critical areas that allowed for more freedom in my day-to-day life of living with vascular access was transitioning from a PICC to an implanted chest port. Like me, many patients needing long-term IV therapy transition from a PICC (or midline) to a port. I successfully lived with an implanted chest port for frequent infusion therapy for nearly five years.
In your discharge instructions, you should receive information about ports you need to know.In our latest series, I will explain the details to help you learn best care practices when making this transition, along with a few tips from my own experience.
What is a Port Catheter?
A Port catheter is an implanted port that is a central line with a round hub under the skin. It is used for long-term IV (intravenous) access for:
- Liquid nutrition, such as TPN (total parenteral nutrition) or IV hydration
- Blood samples
Where are Ports placed?
The most common port placement is in the chest area, just below the collarbone. As seen in the photo above, I had mine in this location on my right side. Additionally, other places a port can be placed are:
- In the inner arms
- abdomen or legs, although this is the least common
What are the parts that make up a Port?
A port has two main parts that make up this medical device:
- The Reservoir: This is the round and small raised area under your skin
- This “Hub” is where the needle is inserted, often referred to as “being accessed,” to give medicines or draw blood
- The Catheter: The catheter is a long tube that extends from the reservoir. This is placed into a large vein.
- The medication that is inserted into the reservoir goes into the catheter and then into the vein.
What other topics do you want us to cover regarding ports? Leave a comment below or email us directly here.
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