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Implanted Venous Access Port
What you should know
An implanted venous access port is a device used to give treatments and take blood. It may also be called a central venous access device (CVAD). The port is a small container that is placed under your skin, usually in your upper chest. A port can also be placed in your arm or abdomen. The port is attached to a catheter that enters a large vein.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- The catheter may enter the wrong area and cause abnormal heartbeats. You may bleed more than expected. Blood may collect around your heart, making it hard for your heart to beat. Your lung may collapse, and air or blood may leak into the space around your lungs. Air may enter your chest and cause heart or lung problems. You may bruise around the port site. You may have pain or discomfort, and get a scar where the port was placed. The area around your port may get infected. The infection may spread to your blood.
- The tip of your catheter may become blocked, or it may break, kink, or move from its position. Medicine may leak from your port and cause swelling or pain. You may get a blood clot in your arm. The blood clot may break loose and travel to your lungs. A blood clot in your lungs can cause chest pain and trouble breathing. This problem can be life-threatening. If you do not have a port placed, you may not get the treatment you need. You may need many needle sticks instead.
The week before your procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need blood tests before your procedure. You may also need a transfusion of platelets or plasma to help your blood clot. Talk to your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.
The night before your procedure:
Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your procedure:
- Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
- You may be given medicine to help you relax and stay calm.
What will happen:
- You will lie on your back, with your head slightly lower than your feet. A cushion may be placed under you, between your shoulder blades. You will be attached to a heart monitor so your caregiver can watch your heartbeat during the procedure. An ultrasound or x-ray may be used to help guide the placement of the catheter and port. Local anesthesia will be given as a shot to numb the area where your port will be placed.
- Your caregiver will insert a needle through your skin until it reaches your vein. A catheter will be put in over the needle and into your vein. You may be asked to hum while the catheter is placed to prevent air from entering the catheter. An incision, and a pocket under your skin, will be made where the port will be implanted. A space will be made under your skin to connect the catheter to the port. The port will be secured with stitches to nearby tissue. The cut will be closed with stitches or tissue glue, and may be covered with a bandage until it heals.
After your procedure:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your procedure.
- You have a fever.
- You get a cold or the flu.
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.