Portacath fitted

Having seen the post about a PICC line has prompted me to post. I had a portacath fitted 2 weeks ago as I have lymoedema in one arm and veins in the other have been battered and was under the impression that it would be used for everything - chemo, blood tests etc. It is not the case - they are still taking bloods from my veins when they can find them leaving them battered and bruised!! At the moment I am in hospital due to a raised temperature and they have put another canula in to administer antibiotics etc. They did try and use the portacath yesterday as they couldn't use the arm with the drip or the lymphoedema arm but unfortunately, although they could flush it with saline - they couldn't draw any blood. They were going to try and sort it next Monday when I go for my routine bloods but have just been told I have to have bloods taken again today so that will be interesting!! I am hoping to go home today if bloods are ok

Just wondering if anyone else has had a similar problem. I was told it is the best type of 'line' as the risk of infection is less. Best wishes to everyone xx

20 Replies

  • Are they using a 'butterfly needle' to take blood tests? How many more chemo sessions are planned? When I was having chemo, they had to resort to the butterfly needle in my toe for blood tests as all my veins disappeared in the rest of my body - the butterfly was the smallest needle they could use! The portacath cannot be used for blood tests.

  • Thanks Lynora. Sometimes they use a small needle but they usually have to take loads of tests. I was obviously given bum info about the portacath. At the moment I am feeling it was a waste of time having it fitted. I am having weekly chemo - not sure how long for at the moment. My oncologist said until I cannot tolerate the side effects anymore but I think there is a base line of 18 weeks

  • That's a tough regime, Chrissie2. The portacath will make the chemo 'easier' (!!) - but the blood tests will continue to be a problem, unless they decide on a site that is easy to access and get samples from.

    I have a client (I'm a therapist) who had a portacath installed 5 years ago - it is used every 3 weeks for her chemo, not blood test, and she now only has blood taken 48 hours before the infusion, using a butterfly needle, from the base of her thumb.

  • Ok thanks for that. I will ask for that next time. Having said that they had no trouble getting blood out of my very bruised vein this morning

  • Hi Chrissie2 I hope they get you sorted hun x

  • Thanks. Cannot go home today after all as my temperature is raised again but yet I feel done x

  • Ahhh Chrissie2 hope your not too upset about this, just remember they looking after you, easier said than done, but you wouldn't want to go home & admitted again x

  • I definitely agree with you. That's what I have said to them x

  • Ru feeling any better hun?

  • I came home last Friday and temperature has been stable since. I am very weak and a little breathless but my chemo is going ahead tomorrow. I know it sounds silly but, perhaps, I will feel a bit better when my chemo kicks in. Thanks for asking how I am xx

  • I hope it does help, not nice feeling like shit, healing hugs 🤗🤗🤗sent ur way x

  • Well what way ru? Xx

  • I am feeling better after chemo last week. I am a bit shaky but tgat seems to be my main side effect at the moment which I can cope with. My breathlessnes seems to have improved. Thanks for your concern xx

  • I'm glad you're feeling a bit better at least. Is the shakiness a side-effect, frig love you I'm sure you've lots of side effects. I was thinking about you the other day chrissie when at docs, was chatting to a woman I know who's going through chemo I didn't even know she was, she was so positive and upbeat, made me think of you x

  • At last they seem to have got my portacath working for next week, hopefully. It will give my poor veins a rest as they can only use one arm due to my lymphoedema. They haven't had to resort to my feet or other areas yet. Just realised I still have to have a 2 canulas in 2 weeks time as I have a CT scan and a bone scan a week apart and they do not use the portacath. Isn't it fun!! I really do not have many side effects so far apart from some shakiness and being quite tired but I have been since my radiotherapy last year.

    How is your journey? xx

  • No fun at all Chrissie frig love you 🙁 ru back in hospital or still being treated at home? I've hit a brick wall waiting on scan & letter to get fitted for compressions x

  • Not in hospital now but have to go twice a week - once for blood test before treatment and then for chemo 2 days later. Do you have a lymphoedema nurse? Mine is brilliant. If I have a problem she sees me and sorts out any new compression sleeves etc. xx

  • No not yet hun still waiting for the scan x

  • Sorry I can't contribute any positive advice for you but I send you best wishes,hope you manage home soon Good luck x

  • Thankyou. I came home last night xx

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