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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.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Anesthesia is medicine to make you comfortable during the procedure. Healthcare providers will work with you to decide which anesthesia is best for you.
    • Local anesthesia is a shot of medicine put into your skin where the port will be placed. It is used to numb the area and dull the pain. You may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure. You may also be given medicine to help you relax and stay calm.
    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During your procedure:

  • 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 healthcare provider 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 healthcare provider 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 and port together. 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. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. Pain medicine may be given to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.


  • 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.


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.

Further information

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

Learn more about Implanted Venous Access Port (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes