What is implantable venous port?

Also known as: central venous access device.

Typically when medicines, nutrients or blood/blood products are required to be administered intravenously frequently, it would require repeated sometimes painful needle insertions into a vein. An implantable venous port (about the size of a 25c piece) is a semi-permanent intravenous (IV) line that’s left under the skin consisting of the port which is a round piece of metal with a soft silicone top and a thin tube (catheter) tunneled under the skin which connects the port to a large vein near the heart. When blood needs to be drawn or medications be given, the skin over the port is numbed with a local anesthetic and a needle can then access your child’s vein through the skin, painlessly.


What happens during the procedure?

Using ultrasound and live X-ray (fluoroscopy) for guidance, a catheter is inserted by a radiologist into a vein (usually in the neck) and threaded toward the heart. The other end of the catheter is buried under the skin and tunneled to the place where the port is placed (usually upper chest) under the skin in a “pocket,” to which it is attached.


Is any special preparation needed?

The patient will need to avoid food, drink and certain medications prior to the procedure.


What are the risk factors?

While the procedure is considered low risk, bleeding, infection, damage to veins and surrounding organs and tissues, abnormal heartbeat, air in the veins (embolism), collapsed lung or reactions to dye (allergic) or anesthesia are all potential risks.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 1/29/2019 3:21:13 PM

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