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How to Care for your Implanted Venous Access Port

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is an implanted venous access port?

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.

Tunneled Central Venous Access Device

How can I prevent an infection?

How do I access my port?

Your healthcare provider will show you or a family member how to access your port with a needle. Never try to use your port without proper training from a healthcare provider. To access your port:

When should I flush my port?

Flush your port with saline (salt water) before, after, and between medicines and treatments. Flush your port with heparin (a blood thinner) between each port use. Your port also needs to be flushed with heparin every 4 weeks when it is not being used regularly. You will use a syringe to push a small amount of saline or heparin into the port and catheter. Flush your port to keep the catheter from getting blocked and to prevent medicines from mixing in the tubing.

How to Flush a Venous Access Device

How do I give myself medicine or other treatments through my port?

Your healthcare provider will show you or a family member how to give medicines or liquids through your port. Medicines and treatments enter your port through tubing attached to the needle.

How do I remove the needle from my port?

Wash your hands and put on clean medical gloves. Flush your port as directed. Remove the needle. Ask how to dispose of your needles if you do not have a needle container. You may need to cover your port site for a short time after you remove the needle.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.