vascular acCess (port-A-Cath)

Port-A-Cath

A port-a-cath provides easy and reliable access to your veins. It is commonly used for administration of port a cath chemotherapy but also for patients needing long-term antibiotics or recurrent blood transfusions.

It consists of a titanium chamber (port) attached to a soft silicone tube (catheter). The entire device is placed under the skin. The port is accessed with a special needle through the skin.

The chemo port insertion is placed into a pocket underneath the skin just below the collar bone.
Nothing is visible externally apart from a small bump on the front of your chest where the port sits.

The port can be left in place for months and sometimes years. Your oncologist will decide if a chemo port a cath is suitable for you and how long it needs to remain in place Portacath Insertion

Port-A-Cath

Port-A-Cath

A port-a-cath provides easy and reliable access to your veins. It is commonly used for administration of chemotherapy but also for patients needing long-term antibiotics or recurrent blood transfusions.

It consists of a titanium chamber (port) attached to a soft silicone tube (catheter). The entire device is placed under the skin. The port is accessed with a special needle through the skin.

The port is placed into a pocket underneath the skin just below the collar bone. The catheter is guided under the skin over the collar bone into a vein in the neck with the tip placed in a large vein just above your heart.

Nothing is visible externally apart from a small bump on the front of your chest where the port sits.

The port can be left in place for months and sometimes years. Your oncologist will decide if a port-a-cath is suitable for you and how long it needs to remain in place.

Vascular Access Procedures

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EXAMPLES OF THIS PROCEDURES

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Chemo Port-a Cath

Chemotherapy treatment can be administered through chemo port insertion. This means that drugs will be administered via the port-a-cath, travelling from the port chamber to the tubing and into your bloodstream. 

Also known as an implantable port, port-a-cath chemotherapy is a great way to receive regular treatment without having to make multiple visits to a clinic or hospital – the port can remain in place for as long as your oncologist deems necessary. Thus, it is an efficient form of outpatient chemotherapy. Keep in mind that you will still need to visit the clinic in order for a nurse to administer the drugs into your port.

As a result, chemo patients don’t have to worry about being injected in the arm for each session – a port-a-cath allows them to receive treatment through their port. Oncologists will usually recommend chemo port insertion if the patient requires more than four intravenous infusions. 

Prior to each chemo session, the line will typically be flushed with heparin or saline to prevent clotting and to clean the line. This might be done by your nurse or you will be taught how to do this yourself. 

Benefits of Port-a-Cath

Benefits of Port-a-Cath

  • Intravenous treatments, Blood samples and contrast for CT scans can be given via the Port.
  • Once the wound has healed, you can shower/ bathe and swim without the risk of infection.
  • Ports can remain for weeks to years
  • Administers treatments that lasts longer than a day – the needle can stay in the port for days
  • Increased comfort
  • Lowers risk of drugs or other fluids leaking (compared to a traditional intravenous procedure)
  • Reduces the amount of needle sticks for repeated use
  • More than 1 medication can be administered at a time through a double port

Procedure

The procedure is performed in our operating theatre using ultrasound and x-rays under local anaesthetic and conscious sedation.

A small cannula is placed in a vein in the back of your hand. Antibiotics and sedation medications are administered via this.

The skin over the neck and upper chest are cleaned and draped to keep everything sterile.

Local anaesthetic is then applied to these areas. You will still be able to feel pressure but no sharp sensations.

A 5 mm incision is made at the base of the neck, and a needle and wire are placed into the vein using ultrasound. A 4 cm incision is then made just below the collarbone, and a pocket forms under the skin.

The port is placed in the pocket. The catheter is then tunnelled under the skin from the pocket to the neck incision, cut to an appropriate length and inserted via the vein in the neck. The tip sits just in a big vein just above your heart.

The position is checked with x-rays.

The chest incision is closed with dissolvable sutures and surgical glue. The neck incision is closed with surgical glue. Dressings are then applied.

If your chemotherapy is due to start in the next couple of days a needle will be left in the port, when requested by the oncology team.
Benefits of Port-a-Cath

What to expect after

The area around the port will feel mildly tender and swollen for a few days once the local anaesthetic wears off. We recommend taking regular panadol, which works well for this.

Our nursing team will provide you with instructions for what you can and can’t do over the next couple weeks until the wound heals.

Risks Associated with Procedure

As with any procedure, there are risks and benefits, these will be discussed with you prior to the procedure by your Interventional Radiologist, before obtaining your consent to proceed.

Post-operative instructions will be given to you by our nursing team.

Contact Lumina or your oncology nurse if you have any concerns.

Complications to Consider

Like with any form of treatment, there are potential drawbacks and disadvantages to think about. These include:

  • Risk of infection – though low, it can still occur
  • Risk of thrombosis/blood clot
  • Scarring
  • Port may separate from the skin, stopping treatment 
  • Movement is limited – strenuous activity is usually not recommended until treatment is complete 

Why Choose Lumina for Portacath Insertion?

The team at Lumina Interventional Radiology are highly skilled and experienced in providing top quality interventional radiology services, including port-a-cath chemotherapy. You can rest assured that at Lumina, we promise to deliver excellent service, especially when it comes to portacath insertion. 

Here are several reasons why you should consider Lumina for your port-a-cath chemotherapy (or other form of treatment) needs:

  • Skilled team with years of experience
  • Private radiology intervention services 
  • Better availability – appointments at your convenience
  • Auckland-based, serving Waikato, Northland, and Bay of Plenty