- For the continuous administration of medication intravenously over several days.
- For the administration of medication that irritates the blood vessels as delivering this type of medication through the veins of the arms may be too painful for the patient.
- For delivery of intravenous high-concentration nutrition.
In these cases using a large vein where plenty of blood is circulated allows the irritating substance to be absorbed quickly. One end of the catheter travels through a vein in the neck down to the patient’s heart while the other is placed under the skin below the clavicle. That end is attached to a small device that resembles three coins stacked on top of each other. The device is hollow and its top, where it touches the skin, is made of rubber.
When a liquid substance is administered or blood is drawn, a numbing cream will be applied in the area of the port and a special needle will be used to pierce through the rubber to access the vein. When the process is complete an anticoagulant will be administered through the port every single time, before the needle is removed. This is to prevent blockages the next time the port has to be used.