Portacath insertion is a process by which a needle inserts a catheter into a vein in the jugular vein or a sub-clavian vein on the chest. It is then connected to an external port through which blood can be repeatedly drawn without the need to restick the patient. In addition, intravenous chemotherapy can be easily accomplished for long periods of time. The procedure can often be performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthetic.

Portacath insertion is used to facilitate treatment for many types of situations that require frequent intravenous access.
Some of the medical conditions for which portacath insertion is indicated include the following.

  • Cancer patients who require chemotherapy.
  • AIDS patients and others who need antibiotic or anti-viral treatments to combat immune disorders.
  • People with blood diseases that need blood products or require hemodialysis to completely clean the blood of impurities.
  • People with hemophilia who require anti-coagulants.
  • People who require multiple blood tests.
  • People who cannot eat orally and require nutrituion be delivered intravenously.
  • For people suffering from  alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency and require replacement of the compound.
  • For people who require agents be delivered into the blood for mapping purposes for CT imaging scans.

There are many other specific uses for which portacath insertion makes intravenous access more convenient and a better overall experience for the medical staff and patiant.

The Seldinger Method

Portacath Insertion

Most medical practitioners use this method of insertion, which requires the use of a big bore needle under the skin to insert the catheter. Most of the complications from the procedure arise from problems of fitting a very large needle into a small vein in order to insert the catheter.

Most of the complications from the procedure arise from problems of fitting a very large needle into a small vein in order to insert the catheter.

The Seldinger method carries very little risk of infection since the only area of exposure is the size of a needle’s caliber or circumference.

The Venous Cutdown Method

The second method that some doctors employ when implanting Portcaths is the The Venous Cutdown Method. They make an incision over the vein, tease out a section, and then insert the catheter directly. This eliminates many of the bleeding problems associated with portacath insertion.

The venous cutdown method eliminates the possibility a surgeon might accidentally hit an artery or rupture a vein and cause excessive bleeding. Both methods carry few risks and and the benefits are significant for patients with many life-threatening illnesses.

What to expect after Portacath Insertion is complete?

Patients undergoing the process can soon shower, bathe and swim since the internal parts of the assembly are completely covered by skin. There may be some slight discomfort after the surgery that is usually addressed by over-the-counter pain relievers. Most patients tolerate the whole process much more readily than multiple needle sticks would cause in the course of treatment

Once properly inserted, the assembly can be used for months or years if required. Patients can administer their own IV drips at homes to treat many conditions with antibiotics or anti-viral medications. The catheter must be flushed regularly with heparin to prevent blood clots from forming and clogging the assembly. When the course of treatment is finished, the portacath insertion can be removed by a simple office procedure under local anesthetic. The advantages of  catheter implantation are considerable.

Portacath Flushing

Continue learning more with Portacath Flushing.