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Portacath for Chemotherapy Definition

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Updated February 01, 2011

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Portacaths For Chemotherapy

Portacaths For Chemotherapy

Art © Pam Stephan
Definition: A port, or portacath, is an implantable medical device that is installed beneath your skin to provide access for infusion treatments such as chemotherapy. A port consists of a durable chamber connected to a thin, flexible catheter (tube), which is inserted into a vein. The port may be surgically implanted in your upper chest or on the inside of your arm just below your elbow. A port will be almost invisible, because it appears as a bump on your skin. The port's catheter line will run through your vein all the way to your superior vena cava –- a large vein that delivers blood to your heart.

A port differs from a PICC line in that it is completely subcutaneoous -- protected from infection below your skin.

Also Known As: portacath, infusion port, chemotherapy port, medical port, subcutaneous port, implanted venous access system, central venous access device, CVAD
Examples:
I had an infusion port implanted before starting chemotherapy, so the catheter line could protect my vein, and so my infusion nurses could always find a good place to stick a needle. My portacath never got infected or developed a blood clot during 14 cycles of chemotherapy.
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