Chemo Port

Chest Port: An Overview

  • A Port is a device with a catheter (long, hollow plastic tube) connected to a plastic and metal reservoir (see the picture below).  When the catheter is placed in your chest, the catheter tip will be in a large vein in your chest.
  • The port itself will be under the skin of your chest, below your collarbone and above your breast tissue.
  • You will have a thin scar 1 to 2 inches long on your skin. The port and catheter cannot be seen, but you may have a small bulge in your skin where the port is.

Ports are very useful for giving medicine directly into a vein over a long time. They are better than an intravenous (IV) line because:

  • Veins in the hand can get blocked with repeated injections.
  • A port can stay in place for months or even years, if needed.
  • Certain drugs cannot be given through a standard IV, but they can be given through the port.
  • Ports have a lower risk of infection over time than devices like an IV that stick out through the skin.
  • You will not have to have needle sticks to get blood samples or to access your blood for treatments.
  • It will take about 7-10days to heal after the port is placed. After that time, having the port will not restrict your activities at all.

Ports are reached through your skin with a special needle.

The port allows our health care team to:

  • Give you drugs, such as antibiotics or chemotherapy, or blood products.
  • Remove blood samples for testing in the lab.

Before Your Procedure

  • You most likely will need blood tests done within 14 days of your procedure. Sometimes, we do this when you arrive for your appointment. We will let you know if we need a blood sample before that day.
  • If you take any blood-thinning medicines (such as Coumadin, Lovenox, Fragmin, or Plavix), you may need to stop taking the medicine for 3 to 9 days before the procedure. You will receive instructions about this.
  • If you have diabetes and take insulin or metformin (Glucophage), you will receive instructions about holding or adjusting your dose for the day your port is placed.

Day Before Your Procedure

The procedure will be performed under General Anaesthesia (GA). To prepare for sedation, follow these instructions closely:

  • The day before your procedure, you may eat as usual.
  • Starting 6 hoursbefore your procedure, you may only have clear liquids {liquid you can see through such as water, Sprite, or weak tea(Without milk), Appy.
  • Starting 2 hoursbefore your procedure:
    • Take nothingat all by mouth.
    • If you must take medicines, take them with onlya sip of water. If you are a diabetic taking oral medications or insulin, you will have to skip the morning dose of medications.
    • Do not take vitamins or other supplements. They can upset an empty stomach.
  • You must have a responsible adult drive you home and stay with you the rest of the day. You may NOT drive yourself home or take a bus, taxi, or shuttle.

On the Day of Your Procedure

  • Take all of your other usual medicines on the day of the procedure. . I f you are a diabetic taking oral medications or insulin, you will have to skip the morning dose of medications. Do notskip them unless your doctor or nurse tells you to.
  • Bring a list of all the medicines you take with you.
  • Please plan to spend most of the day in the hospital. If there is a delay in getting your procedure started, it is usually because we need to treat other people with unexpected and urgent problems. Thank you for your patience if this occurs.
  • Unless you are told otherwise:
  • You need to check in at Admitting on the Ground (main) floor of the hospital. Admitting  is to the right and behind the Information Desk in the lobby.
  • Insured patients will need to fill in necessary details and complete formalities , a day prior to the procedure.
  • If you do not wish to get admitted, the procedure may be done as on an OPD basis, for which you need to report to the OT Sister on the second floor of the main building with a Note from your doctor with specific instructions.
  • The nurse will take you to the operating room.
  • You will lie on a flat table .Wires will be placed on your body to help us monitor your heart rate.You will have a cuff around your arm. It will inflate from time to time to check your blood pressure.
  • We usually place the port on the right side of the chest. If we should avoid this side (such as having had a mastectomy, lymph node dissection, radiation therapy, wound, or infection), be sure to tell us.
  • The entire medical team will ask you to confirm your name and will tell you what we plan to do. This is for your safety.
  • Then, the Anesthetist will give you medicine to make you feel drowsy and relaxed before the procedure is begun.
  • While the port is being  placed, you will be completely under anaesthesia  . The procedure is going to be completely pain free. You will still be sleepy for a while after the procedure.

As with all medical procedures, there are some risks. The most common problems after placing a port are:

  • Bleeding: Bleeding is usually minor and does not last long.
  • Infection right after the port is placed: There is a small risk of infection right after the port is placed. You will get an IV antibiotic before your procedure to lower this risk.
  • Infection more than 1 week after the port is placed: This infection is more common. It is not related to the port placement procedure.
  • The port may not work correctly.

There are other less common risks. Your doctor will talk with you about these risks before your procedure. Please make sure to ask any questions you have, so that you know what to expect.

  • We will watch you closely for a short time in the Recovery Room of the Operation Theatre for about 1 to 2 hours to let the sedation wear off. You will be able to eat and drink, and your family may visit you.
  • When you are fully awake and are able to eat, use the restroom, and walk, you will be able to go home.
  • Complications are rare. If they occur, we may need to keep you in the hospital so that we can keep watching you or treat you.
  • Before you leave the hospital, the medical Assistant will tell you what activities you can do, how to take care of your incision, and other important instructions.
  • Relax at home for the rest of the day. Make sure you have a family member, friend, or caregiver to help you. You may feel sleepy or have some short-term memory loss.
  • For 24 hours, do not:
    • Drive a car or use machinery
    • Drink alcohol
    • Make important personal decisions or sign legal documents
    • Be responsible for the care of another person
  • Do notlift anything heavier than 5 to 10 pounds for 3 days.
  • Do notshower or bathe until your dressing has been changed for the first time, usually 2  days after your procedure.
  • Sutures , if present will be removed after a week.
  • You may have some mild bruising, swelling, or tenderness over your chest and neck for 3 to 5 days. Pain killers will be given to you for the same .
  • Resume taking your usual medicines as soon as you start to eat. Take only the medicines that your doctors prescribed or approved.

Your new port requires regular maintenance called ‘flushing’. The port is accessed and a solution instilled which prevents the port from becoming obstructed. Your port needs to be flushed every eight weeks by a specially-trained nurse or doctor. You may be having treatment often enough that additional flushing is not required. If your treatment is infrequent, speak to your nurse about additional appointments.

 

IMPORTANT: Call us right away if you have:

  • Severe bleeding or any bleeding that does not stop after you have applied gentle pressure for about 15 minutes
  • Drainage/ Pus Discharge from your incision
  • Severe Redness for more than 2-3 days.
  • Fever higher than 101°F (38.3°C) or chills
  • Shortness of breath that is getting worse
  • New chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
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