PICC Lines and Ports


Has anyone had a medical port inserted for IV medications? I have had a PICC line (my first) in place for 9 weeks. It just got infected at the entry site, so it has been removed and I am trying to work with my GP to have a port instead.


I have not but as a nurse have taken care of them. I hope you can have the port placed.

I worked in IR/special procedures, which is were one would get a port/picc line placed. How much longer do you have on antibiotics? For short term picc lines are better. Ports are quite invasive. A PICC line is similar to a long iv that ends just above the heart to deliver meds right to the central circulatory system. A picc line is short for peripherally inserted central catheter. It can be in for about 6-12 weeks. A port/ port a Cath ends at the same place, but a port is more long term. A device is placed under the skin and is inserted into the jugular and down just above the heart. So both ports and piccs end at the same place. Also there is usually conscience sedation with a port (versed and fentynal). Ports are great, patients really enjoy having them. I hope this helps a little bit! If you still have questions feel free to ask!?

My nurses through hematology and multiple hospitalizations have recommended a port but my pcp is hesitant cause it means I'm "really sick". But my veins from weekly ivs are going down hill...takes about 3-4 tries atleast to start iv or get blood. Its frustrating..being a nurse myself a port is the way to go vs. Picc. They r under skin less likely get infected and less maintenance. Good luck on what ever u decide.

I had my port placement October 7 2013 because the veins in my hands and wrist were non existent... ive been going once a month since November for cytoxin infusions and had 5 benlysta infusions in the months before that so the port made receiving treatment often much less painful. I have a double power port in the right side of my chest. im very petite and barely a 100lbs so its definitely noticeable but the surgeon placed it far back enough to be covered by almost all of my clothes. You will have to have it flushed with heparin every 4 - 6 weeks but if you're in treatment it will be flushed then. I can't really say anything bad about it . Its definitely helpful if you're going to be on longterm intervenous treatment , frequent surgeries and or several scans with contract...ive been doing all of the above!

Depends on who will be accessing the port My sister had one and virtually NO ONE was trained and certified to use it so even with a port she had to undergo multiple sticks and massacres of her veins. This was both as an inpatient in the hospital and outpatient- Port was virtually unused

I've had my port for several years. It's a good thing. Short surgery time. There will be some discomfort with healing.

One thing to keep in mind with a port, most nurses will not use it if you have it for chemo. The ER nurses would just prefer to dig around for a vein. You can insist they access the port. They try to protect and preserve your port for life threatening access. I finally started saying it was not for chemo. This is just my experience with it. People in labs won't access it for your routine lab work. Only nurses can access it.

I've been happy with mine, don't even notice it unless I lay on my left side and then I can feel it. It's a good thing.

Hope that helps.

Yes, I did…decided on a Hickman vs the picc line for the reason that you experienced. It worked really wee and was easy to work with.

I have had 3 surgeries for port placement, replacement and repair. My first port was on the right side of my chest, then it became clogged so the new one was put on the left side, then somehow the line in my neck became tangled (the surgeon says he doesn't know how I managed to do that, so it must be rare!), so they replaced the lines, but kept the same port in place. The surgeries and healing times weren't bad at all, for any of them.

I required over a year of IV medication so a port was the way to go. And if I go back on IV meds (I am currently off) I will stick with a port. Yes, the surgery is more extensive and invasive but afterwards the port is under your skin completely so you can more easily shower and infections are not as common as with a PICC line. I was taught to access my own port, flush it and administer my own medications, because I had to do it 3 times a day for many months at a time. It is not difficult, you just need to use standard sterile procedures.

Good luck with everything!

I have had my port since July 2013 and it has been great. I have to have it flushed every month and I have Retuxin infusions every 6 months. I used to have Benlysta infusions every month before I became allergic to it. You would never even know I have one unless I took off my shirt. I’m glad I got one.

One other thing to consider, . my daughter is an oncology nurse and if you are going to need to have more than one medication administered at the same time a double port is the way to go. I am assuming you probably are only going to need one But I thought I’d put it out there because many times the doctors don’t realize that this is possible and it makes it much easier to administer all the medications. Good luck to you. Please reply back if you have more questions. I’m sure my daughter would be more than happy to answer any other questions you have.

Wow greeneyes thats shocking a nurse told you a port wasn't for chemo?!?! You have one already so you know it goes throughs a large ,main vein and thats the method of delivery for intervenous medicine , weird... I had 2 IV treatments before my port placement . my nurse said at University of Miami(were I go) said they only administer chemo, treatment from the wrist down unless there's a port, picc ect.. the interventional radiologist that did my surgery put in a double power port witch I was confused and a little upset about at first because it's not like im every getting chemo and contrast imaging at the same time lol.. I asked my CTU nurse why she thought he opted for this "Cadillac" of ports since they specialize in giving IVs and im sure have seen every kind of port and pic line. she said most surgeons these days are giving the double port for long term, serious chronically ill patients. If one line gets cloged or is problematic they can still utilize the other one for treatment or whatever. It is really important to carry your port identify card with you alway. Every manufacturer requires a specific type of needle to access the port. Unfortunately I did have 1 bad in counter with a CTU nurse a few months ago:/ she tried to gain access in the middle of my 2 ports, I couldn't believe it!and the pain!my fiance said I was so red I was almost purple lol... so she said "there must be something wrong with your port" and asked another nurse for help .. it took the other nurse 3 seconds to pop the needle in like it always dose! So maybe the nurse that refused you wasn't comfortable with or didn't know how to work on a port??? Better luck next time:)

Why can’t they piggyback meds into the port? I have seen that when I was working. They can run 2 meds into a port the same way they run 2 through one iv in one vein. Also about chemo not allowed through a port is wrong. Even the American Cancer Society talks about the different types of ivs used for chemo, and ports are mentioned. Read for yourself here http://m.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/treatmenttypes/chemotherapy/chemotherapyprinciplesanin-depthdiscussionofthetechniquesanditsroleintreatment/chemotherapy-principles-how-is-chemo-given

I had a PICC line for several months. It was a real pain in the butt. I hated having to cover it every day to bathe and or go out in the rain. It came out three times and after the third time, knowing I was getting infusions and lots of blood work on a regular basis, I asked for a port. Sooo glad I did. I love mine! No problems at all! They put you in a twilight sleep to put if in. Take good care of it while it heals and it will do fine. I make sure anyone who accesses the port cleans it really good before inserting the huber needle. Mine doesn’t even hurt when they put the needle in. I’ve had mine for four months now and love it. I have a friend that has had hers for ten years and loves hers. She just uses it for bloodwork.

If you only use it for bloodwork you will have to get your blood drawn a special places. Just call to see if they can draw from a port before you go. My Rheumy’s office has staff that draws from mine which is really nice. Some places don’t.

Good luck in your decision ! Be well-Tina