Implanted Venous Access Port
What is an implanted venous access port?
Implanted Venous Access Port Care Guide
- Implanted Venous Access Port
- Implanted Venous Access Port Aftercare Instructions
- Implanted Venous Access Port Discharge Care
- Implanted Venous Access Port Inpatient Care
- Implanted Venous Access Port Precare
- Implanted Venous Access Ports
- Implanted Venous Access Ports Aftercare Instructions
- Implanted Venous Access Ports Discharge Care
- Implanted Venous Access Ports Inpatient Care
- Implanted Venous Access Ports Precare
- En Espanol
An implanted venous access port is a device used to give treatments and to 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 (tube) that enters a large vein.
Why might I need an implanted venous access port?
- You need long-term IV therapy: You may need to receive intravenous (IV) medicines, such as chemotherapy and antibiotics, or treatments for a long period of time. You can also get total parenteral nutrition (liquid food) and IV liquids through a port. The device has 1 or 2 lumens (openings). A port with 2 lumens may be placed if you need medicines or treatments that cannot be given together. A port allows you to get these treatments at home, in a clinic, or in the hospital.
- You often need blood transfusions or blood drawn for tests: You can receive blood through your port. Caregivers can also collect blood samples. You will not have a needle put into a vein each time. Caregivers will use the port instead.
- You need a bone marrow transplant: If a bone marrow transplant is needed, it can be done through a port.
- Your veins need to be protected: You may get a port if your veins are small or damaged. Certain types of IV medicines, such as chemotherapy, can damage your veins and skin. Your skin and veins are protected when you get the medicines through a port instead.
How can I prevent central line-associated infections?
The area around your port may get infected, or you may get an infection in your bloodstream. A catheter-associated infection is caused by bacteria getting into your bloodstream through your port. Infections from ports can lead to severe illness. The following are ways you can help prevent an infection:
- Wash your hands: Use soap or an alcohol-based hand rub to clean your hands. Clean your hands before and after you care for your port. Ask your caregiver for information on how to wash your hands. Remind anyone who cares for your port to wash their hands.
- Wear medical gloves: Wear clean medical gloves when you care for your port or change bandages.
- Limit contact: Do not touch or handle your port unless you need to care for it.
- Clean your skin: Clean the skin around your port every day and just before you change your bandage. Ask your caregiver what to use to clean your skin.
- Check for infection: Check your skin every day for signs of infection, such as pain, redness, swelling, and oozing. Contact your caregiver if you see these signs.
- Cover the area: Keep a sterile bandage over the port site for as long as your caregiver directs. You may no longer need a bandage after your port site heals. Change the bandage as directed or when it is loose, wet, dirty, or falls off. Change your bandage in a place away from open windows, heating ducts, and fans. Be sure it is well-lit, clean, and free of dust. Clean the skin under the bandage with the solution your caregiver suggests. Let the area dry before you put on the new bandage.
How do I care for my implanted venous access port?
Your caregiver may show you or a family member how to give medicines or liquids through your port. A caregiver may also visit you in your home to give you medicines or treatments. Never try to use your port without proper training. Ask your caregiver for more information on how to flush and use your port.
What are the risks of an implanted venous access port?
- During placement, the catheter may enter the wrong area, causing 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 fill the space around your lung. Air may enter your chest and cause heart or lung problems. Blood may collect in the area your port was placed and you may bruise around the port site. You may have pain or discomfort, and get a scar where the port was placed. You may get an infection around your port that may lead to a blood infection.
- Medicine may leak from your port and cause swelling, or pain. You can have bleeding, an allergy to heparin, or heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). HIT is a low number of platelets which increases your risk for bleeding. You may get a blood clot in your arm that causes pain and swelling, and can stop blood flow. 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. Your veins may get damaged if treatments that are harmful to smaller veins are given through a regular IV. You may get many needle sticks to get the treatments you need. Contact your caregiver if you have questions or concerns about your procedure or care.
What should I know about having an implanted venous access port?
- Activity: You may return to your normal activities when the area heals. You can be active when your port is not being used. You will also be able to bathe and swim.
- Information card: Your caregiver will give you a paper or card with information about your port. Keep this information in a safe and easy-to-find place.
When should I contact my caregiver?
Contact your caregiver if:
- Your child has a fever.
- The skin around your port is red, warm, painful, or oozing fluid.
- You see blood on your bandage and the amount is increasing.
- The skin over or around your port breaks open.
- The veins in your neck or chest bulge.
- You hear a bubbling noise when your port is flushed.
- You have questions about how to care for your port.
- You run out of supplies to care for your skin or port.
When should I seek immediate care?
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your heart is jumping or fluttering.
- You have a headache, blurred vision, and feel confused.
- You have pain in your arm, neck, shoulder, or chest.
- The port site turns cold, changes color, or you cannot feel it.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
You 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.
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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.