A Port-A-Cath is an implanted venous access device that is placed under the skin below the collarbone to administer liquids. It is beneficial for patients who must receive medication or fluids intravenously over a long period, or in the case that medication or fluids may not be administered through small veins.

Purposes of the Port-A-Cath
  • 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.
  • No inconvenient catheters or tubes when administering liquid substance.
  • Low risk of infection.
  • The port can be permanent and used as long as it is needed; IV access is always temporary. Ports can be removed if no longer needed.
  • Only a nurse may insert the needle through the rubber top of the port.
  • Even when the liquid substance is not administered an anticoagulant must be given to prevent blockages.
  • There may be the irritating sensation of having something underneath the skin, especially at the collarbone.
  • Pneumothorax—a collection of air or gas in the pleural space that separates the lung from the chest wall—during insertion of the needle.
  • Inflammation, redness or swelling or infection at the surgical site.
  • Septicemia (blood infection).
  • Blood clot in the catheter.
  • The catheter is damaged by being bent or broken.
  • You may resume regular daily activities.
  • You may walk as much as they want, including going up and down the stairs.
  • You may eat normally.
  • You may shower/bathe, but avoid getting your incision wet until the sutures have been removed.
  • You may return to work as normal.
Please come to the hospital immediately if:
  • The insertion site is red, swollen or there is a discharge.
  • The port has moved from its original position.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
If the Port-A-Cath is not being used, please come to the hospital once a month to have it flushed and cleaned. Please Contact Horizon Cancer Center on the 3rd floor, Bumrungrad Hospital Building.
After the procedure you will receive the manual and other documents for your particular Port-A-Cath. You will also receive a small card with details about your Port-A-Cath that you should keep with you and show to airport officials as needed when you travel.
  • A central line inserted into a major vein in the chest or arm. In this case the end of the line will stick out, making it impossible for patients to perform normal activities, such as bathing, because the line must be kept dry. Furthermore, the lifespan of the central line is shorter than that of the Port-A-Cath.
  • Inserting a needle into a vein, which is convenient, but the location where the needle is inserted must be changed every 96 hours or less if problems occur, such as swelling, redness, and infection. Eventually, it may become impossible to find veins and the patient would require a central line or Port-A-Cath anyway.

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