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Implanted Venous Access Port
WHAT YOU NEED TO 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.
Prevent an infection:
- Wash your hands often. Use soap and water. Clean your hands before and after you care for your port. Remind everyone who cares for your port to wash their hands.
- Wear clean medical gloves when you care for your port. Do not touch or handle your port unless you need to care for it.
- Clean the skin around your port every day. Ask your primary healthcare provider (PHP) what to use to clean your skin.
- Check your skin for infection every day. Look for redness, swelling, or fluid oozing from the port site.
Care for your port:
- Use your port correctly at home. Your PHP may show you or a family member how to give medicines or liquids through your port. A caregiver may also visit you at home to give you medicines or treatments. Do not use your port without proper training. Ask how often to change the needle and tubing.
- Flush your port as directed. This helps prevent the catheter from becoming blocked and medicines from mixing. A syringe is used to push a small amount of saline (salt water) or heparin into the port and catheter. Heparin is a medicine that helps prevent blood clots from forming inside the catheter. Saline is usually flushed between medicines and treatments. Heparin is normally flushed between each port use.
- Topical medicine may be needed to numb your skin before your port is accessed with a needle. Ask your PHP if and when you should use the medicine.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your PHP if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your PHP as directed:
You may need to return to have your stitches removed in 1 week. Medical glue will peel off on its own in 5 to 10 days. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Implanted venous access information card:
Your PHP will give you a card with information about your port type. Keep this information in a safe place that is easy to find.
You may return to your daily activities when the area heals. You will be able to bathe, shower, or swim once it heals.
Contact your PHP if:
- You have a fever.
- You run out of supplies to care for your skin or port.
- Your port site is red, swollen, or draining pus.
- Your port site turns cold, changes color, or you cannot feel it.
- The veins in your neck or chest bulge.
- You have trouble using your port.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Blood soaks through your bandage.
- You hear a bubbling noise when your port is flushed.
- The skin over or around your port breaks open.
- 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.
- You have trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
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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.