What is a venous access port?
A venous access port is a central venous access device that allows doctors to easily access your veins to give treatments and to take blood. It is made of a non-irritant material and is designed to be inserted under your skin and remain in place for weeks or months. It is also known as a subcutaneous infusion port, and includes a catheter (a thin hollow tube), which is inserted through the skin and is then connected to a port in a pocket under the skin.
Venous access ports are commonly used in the care of patients with chronic liver disease, particularly cancer patients, and are considered an integral part of cancer therapy. The port provides reliable access for taking blood, blood transfusions and administering nutrition, fluids and medication with minimal disruption to the patient’s lifestyle. The venous access ports used today are light and can be used during imaging procedures.
How does the procedure work?
The procedure for implanting a venous access catheter is performed on an out-patient basis, under fluoroscopic guidance. In most cases, the port is inserted into the patient’s upper chest or arm. The interventional radiologist will access the vein under ultrasound guidance using a thin needle. The right internal jugular vein, which collects blood from your brain, face and neck, is the preferred vein for this as the risk of blood clots and pneumothorax (collection of air or gas in the space between the lung and the chest wall) is lower.