A few weeks back my husband had a problem and they put something in to flush it (haha...when he first started over 2 years ago, I remembered all the medicines and medical terms, etc...now I just remember what was done, but not the details.) Anyway, the nurse said it was very common, cleared eventually, chemo went on as usual and the next time he went (2 weeks later), it was fine. He's had the port since he started and has had no problems whatsover except for this, which is totally fixable, Good luck...and I am sure it will be more than fine :0)
Inflammatory Breast Cancer Questions
Has anyone had problems with their port?
Asked by nancyjac on Thursday, January 19, 2012
Has anyone had problems with their port?
There was a problem drawing blood from my port the last 2 weeks. Last week it took a couple of hours and some meds to clear the catheter. Was told that sometimes a flap of some sort of protein starts to grow over the end of the catheter, meaning that they can pump stuff through it, but when they try to draw blood out the flap closes again. Today, it wasn't as difficult. They were able to draw blood when I stood up, held up my arm, and turned my head to that side.
I really don't want to have surgery again to put in a new port. Has anybody else experienced something similar to this, and how was it resolved?
10 Answers from the Community
I have actually just started having my blood drawn from my arm. The reason is that they have to throw away the first volume of blood because it has the heparin in it....and I need ALL MY BLOOD! For a while there - I was very anemic... And I didn't want to give away a single drop that I did not have to give away....
Now, I am not anemic, but I'm in the habit of the arm draw, and it seems to speed up the pre-chemo part of the treatment... Which i like.
So, I think I'm going to suggest that you consider having blood drawn in the arm way .... And have the port for only infusion... And thus avoid another surgery. What do you think?
In less than a month, I will be having my mastectomies, and I am looking forward to losing the port. It definitely makes chemo go better - no doubt.... But I don't care for it otherwise....
Good luck - I hope that this problem just clears up and you have no furtherproblemswith your port....
TomLand (Best Answer!)
I have been using the port for about 2 months. During that time, I had one experience very similar to yours. I had to position myself the same way you described and that made it work. I was told sometimes the end of the tube in the blood vessel would stick to the wall of the blood vessel and block the pickup. That positioning would help pull the end loose and it worked very quickly for me. Personally, I don't think it is anything to worry about - we have enough to be concerned about without worrying about the mechanics. We have to trust the people that are there because they want to help us, put in the time and money to go to school to learn how to do so and do a fantastic job in my experience.
As for doing chemo by arm stick I have some problems with that advice. I have spoken with people who did that and suffered damage to their blood vessels from long term use. You have already gone through the port installation and long term I think it is by far the best choice. There are times when my labs require only blood with no follow up chemo and I usually have that drawn through the arm. If it involves chemo later I always use the port. I also do not have the same concern about loss of blood volume that the poster had. If I were faced with similar circumstances I might have a different opinion and I wish them luck.
In a nutshell, spend your mental energy on your family, not on worrying about the mechanics of treatment so much. Use the port now that it is there, especially for chemo treatments. The percentage of people I have spoken with is overwhelmingly in support of the port for cleanliness, ease of use and other factors.
I had the same problem recently. They ended up taking my blood from my hand. I have one more pet scan before my doc decides to have my port taken out. But the results must not show a single dot of possible cancer. I cant wait! I dont want to feel it anymore and I am looking forward to being able to sleep comfortably again. :) Anywho, I agree with the lady above. Choose your hand or arm to draw blood & the port for infusions.
The port is definitely the way to go for me. My veins role and have become more fragile with age. When ever I have blood drawn or an infusion (such as for Pet Scan) directly into a peripheral vein, I end up with swelling and bruises that last for weeks.
Thank you Tom, for your very insightful response. You are absolutely right. We have enough to worry about already without adding the mechanics and worrying about things that may or may not ever happen. I am much less concerned about this than I was yesterday!
Hubby had a port put in when he was first diagnosed. Then it took about 6 weeks to get him authorized for chemo. They used the port 2x for chemo. Then the nurses said it looked infected and refused to use it. He ended up having it surgically removed after only 2 months, and having to go through would care for another 2 months. They put in a PICC line in his left arm. If went bad after about 2 months and had to be pulled out. They put another PICC in his right arm. That one kept "migrating" out of the correct place, and they had to pull it, too.
Now he gets an IV because they refuse to put another port or picc in. Seems his body just doesn't like them. :-p
I had the exact thing with both ports. My first one done that, they could usually get it to work with a shot of Urokinase,I think that's right, it was drano for ports. It would sit for a few minutes then it would draw. Finally it stopped working, I had to have it taken out and another put in. After all treatment was done, they wanted to take it out, I said, "no i'll just keep it for a while". I kept that thing for about 15 years. Finally had it taken out about 4 years ago. Then was diagnosed with cancer again two years later. I didn't want to let it go, since they said the next one would have to go in maybe the groin area? That didn't sound too good.
i had my port put in OCT. 14 2011 and on Jan. 5th 2012 i had it scraped and the the way they did it was so cool, turns out the DR. who did it at REX HOSPITAL in NC, invented the Technic . and they were able to get the blood flow out to a vile, but five days later at chemo it did not want to work so they tried all kinds of things , then they used that stuff ( they call it draino for a nick name ) but they got it to work and THEN yesterday at my exam/lab, they could not take blood out, so they took it from my vein , they should me a booklet that should what was happing and it is some protein that makes a flap and it will still let my chemo thur but close's and will not let blood out
Dear TomLand - I wasn't suggesting infusion through the arm... only the blood draw for labs.... sometimes, the port is still working well for infusion... but doesn't give good blood return.
I have had all 16 of my infusions by the port... but the vast majority of my blood draws NOT from the port.
Sorry for the confusion.