Portacath

Has anybody had one of these fitted? My veins kept blowing and I got fluid flowing into the tissues. I have had a mastectomy on the other arm of my body, sorry really I mean I had all the lymph nodes removed and so was told to steer clear of having BP's etc taken from that arm but until the Portacath is fitted I think I shall opt for my next chemo cannula to get inserted into the 'bad' arm, Any advice anybody?

12 Replies

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  • Hi There. I have one. I can highly recommend it. In fact I wouldn't be without it. For me it has reduced any stress relating to scans, chemo, bloods. It was simply life changing regarding how I viewed Chemo. Best of luck with your decision xx Trish

  • Hey, wonderful news. Thanks so much, did you have a local or a general anaesthetic? xx Gio

  • I went into the Intervention unit. A plastic surgeon did it for me and I think it was a low level general. I was awake but couldn't feel a thing, quite sleepy and the staff where wonderful I had a nurse who was beside me all the time talking to me and being very comforting. It was in no way traumatic or scary or painful and a much better experience and less painful than trying to find a vein on the day ward. I've had two. One for a year 2011/2012 and 'Oul Yeller' who has been with me for the last 2 years and is going strong.

  • Sorry, what is 'Oul Yeller' am I being uneducated! Yes thanks for advice, I will opt for the local. I've sent another post saying I think this is the best option for me as I lead the most energetic life ever!! Gio

  • LOL sorry just my nickname for my Cathport :)

  • Hi Gio

    I have had my present power port for approx. three years and like Trish I really recommend having one. I had mine put in under light sedation so you are conscious but don't have any pain. Good luck with your choice.

    Hugs

    Janice

  • Hi there! My wife has one, and as most of the notes above state, it makes everything (receipt of drugs, and taking of blood sooooo much easier). Her veins were always collapsing and she felt like a pin cushion in the end! From memory we had a choice of two different types (forgive me, I am not familiar with the medical phrases for the two). The first option had tubes visible and present outside the body (looked a bit like audio cables!), but the second option (the one that we went with), has no visible tubes at all. When I say not visible there is a slight ridge under the skin about the size and shape of a 50p coin. This is 'stitched' in place (it left a small scar), until it is no longer required. It is flushed usually before and after treatment as blood can build up if not used/flushed fairly regularly (sounds worse than it actually is). Our Oncology Nurses are familiar with accessing the port, as where some nurses and doctors less so. The point here (if you excuse the pun), is that the needles that they use to gain access are curved slightly (rather like a fishing hook), and I don't think they are that common. My wife's current port is in the top of her chest. She has also had one previously lower down by her tummy as we went through a cycle of treatment direct to source a phase called intraperitineal (almost certainly the wrong spelling - sorry!).

    I hope this rather garbled comment helps?

    Good luck on your journey and I wish you well for the future Xx

  • Your spelling is excellent. I like all the long words! This is the best option for me and your follow-up care of the Port is absolutely what the nurses have told me. As you will see from my post I don't like to be inhibited. I would like to find out more about the second part of my post though, as two medical teams have to coordinate I may have to wait to have the procedure fitted, so, my next Avastin will have to be administered through the veins, I mentioned that my first cancer was seen to with a mastectomy, I am quite willing to have blood taken or infusions through this arm but it would be interesting if anybody else on this site has used this as an alternative before the port was fitted! Thanks again for your post and I shall copy the response you can for reference notes! Cheers, Gio

  • Hi, my husband had one fitted for his last chemo, he had the one with the two tubes showing on his arm. No problem for him, covered up neatly. Fitted by a trained nurse, no anasetic, pain free. He said it was the best thing he'd had in chemo, as you can see by the replys. Only problem for him was that he had to go back more to the hospital for line care on a regular basis. I think they are beginning to use them more. Best wishes.

  • Like you, I have only one "good" arm, though having lost a lot fewer lymph nodes.

    After my body/pincushion gave up on yielding any blood a year ago, I did have it taken, in desperation, from the "bad" arm with no ill effects.

    I think if you had had any lymphadoema after your mastectomy this wouldn't be advisable.

    It could be worth ringing the Ovacome nurses. Even if they don't know the answer they'll probably know how to find out!

    This experience led to me getting a portacath, having previously had two PICC lines. I'm less of a fan than some on here.

    If you do a search ( top right box - enter what you're looking for, then press the enter key) you'll find a lot of discussions about this area. There seems, in particular, a wide range of practice in how long you keep it in for..... worth checking before you start, I think.

    Best of luck!

  • Thanks for your advice. I am afraid that I am having to go with the PICC line because I am on avastin and my consultant fears that the healing from the Portacath line may be slow!! Shame, it takes more maintenance and I shall complain vehemently if I cannot wallow in the bath, one is entitled to a BIT of relaxation, don't you think!!!

    Gio

  • Next time around I think I'd go for a PICC again.....

    I did miss not being able to swim, but I found the portacath a lot more obtrusive than I'd been led to believe and the scar on your chest shows more than one under your arm!

    First time around, I was given (and have kept) a brilliant sleeve for showering - very solid and with excellent cuffs at both ends. I think you'd be able to wallow with this on as long as you were a bit careful. It's similar to this:

    limboproducts.co.uk/shop/pr...

    Searching for this, I even found an American one which claims you could go in the sea in it...

    I enjoyed getting to know the nurses better when I went in for my flushes!

    All the best with it. xxx

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