Topic: Port Not Working Well

My mom had a port put in in November 2009 before she started her first round of chemo.  She has never "loved" it.  She says it still hurts to have the port accessed.   There is no sign of infection but it does not seem to function as we expected.  The nurse often has problems getting blood through the port.  Has anyone had similar problems?  Any suggestions for who the best person to go to would be to be sure it is functioning properly?

Re: Port Not Working Well

srs74.....I would speak with the physician who had ordered the port and I would insist to have it looked at.  Don't wait. 
Good luck,
Marion

THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

Re: Port Not Working Well

Welcome, srs74.  Good luck with getting the port sorted!!

Julia

“When it is dark enough, you can see the stars." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Re: Port Not Working Well

Does your mother numb her port before access is attempted?  I do this every time my port is accessed, with a cream I put on about an hour before and cover it with Glad Press & Seal wrap (it sticks to the skin but not like an adhesive).  There have been several times when the nurses were not able to get blood through my port, but it didn't affect the chemo going in.  They explained to me that cells build up at the port opening to the artery and then open and close like a flap, so that when they try to get a blood return it closes but fluid going in pushes it open.  I would just have them access a vein in order to do my initial blood work.  Sometimes they were able to get a blood return by putting me in one of the chemo recliners and tipping me a little backwards, they called it a positional thing.  Also, there is a drug called activase (I don't know how to spell it) that I have been given to dissolve the cell flap.  I used to get upset and really concerned when they couldn't get a blood return but the nurses told me it wasn't really an abnormal thing.  They always told me they have lots of tricks they could try to get blood return before having to check the port function.  But do check with your doc about your concerns.

- Suzanne

Re: Port Not Working Well

Thank you all for your replies. 

Suzanne - what is the name of the cream you use to numb the port area?  I'd like to share this with my mom.

Re: Port Not Working Well

srs74,

My husband has experienced the same thing as Suzanne.  Roger was given a perscription for Lidocain and Prilocaine Cream (it comes in one tube) that he puts on 1 hour prior to Chemo and like Suzanne, we put Glad Press and Seal over it.  It really does help. 

Good Luck and let us know if this works for her.  Our prayes are with you.

Today is a blessing

Re: Port Not Working Well

I use the same thing that sduggins husband uses.  It's called Emla cream.  It's a great thing but for me it takes about an hour to numb my skin really really well.  Tell your Mom to put a big glob of it on, not just a little bit.  I hope this gives her some relief.

- Suzanne

Re: Port Not Working Well

MY brother also uses EMLA cream, puts it on and around his port about 45min-1 hour before chemo starts and puts plastic wrap on to keep it on and he has had god luck with his. They do not access the port for blood, they use a vein for that.  ALso, he is on 2 days chemo back to back so when they access it the 1st day, they keep it in, cover it lightly with a bandage and then it is already accessed the next day.

Re: Port Not Working Well

Thanks to all! I've shared this information with my mom and she's going to give these suggestions a try.