I am looking into getting port a cath placed for my Remicade infusions. My veins are just horrible for IV insertions and are getting worse. The last to two trips included multiple pokes and blown veins. Went for a simple annual checkup blood draw this morning and the phleb could not hit paydirt, even with a butterfly. I and talked with my PCP and Hemotologist and they are both for the idea. My rheumy, however, is not. I realize that there might be an increase in that chance of an infection but cannot find any information as to what those rates might be.
Anyone here using a port for infusions?
Complications with PIC exceed 25%, chances of keeping it clear for the 2 mos between infusions isn't good.
Lamb, this is not a PICC line but an implanted port. I get my infusions every 6 weeks but would have no issue with getting a heparin flush once a month. I talked with my hemo doc (also an oncologist) and he thinks that it is a good idea. He stated that they have had virtually no issues with the port a cath or power port type of devices.
A porta cath requiring anesthetic? Those caths are generally removed after several months. (4.5 on average) They have a 10% complication rate. The most serious being heparin sensitivity which is developed. You may need heparin some day. Risk assessment by guy who has most of his patients die may not be be the best perspective. That being said undergoing a surgical ( minor) to avoid six IVs year seems a bit of overkill to me but I don't know your situation. There are far less invasive ways to start IVs. Sounds to me like your infusion center is looking for a convenient solution or them as most of their patients have porta caths. There are other alternative to "mining." I'm sure Grumpy and Michael can add to the perspective. FWIW there is a massive review of the whole process going an as its generally felt the whole thing is way over used and has become a convenience issue. But like I say we know nothing about your situation.
BTW I was talking PIC not PICC, there is a difference.......
Update. After much consideration and investigation I had the port placed on 12/22. Had my first infusion using it yesterday 12/29. What a difference. Needle went in the first try. Little to no pain. Blood samples came out with NO problem. Infusion was the smoothest I have had to date.
As far as the 4.5 month average time for being in use before removal, my wife's cousin has had one in for years with no problems.
A question (just being inquisitive): I would think that the majority of cancer patients while under treatment are immune compromised. If that is the case, why do the majority of the folks I see getting infusions have ports?
The risk of infection is less than the risk of death with cancer patients. They are infused far more frequently and the medications far more harmful to veins. Obviously no one knows the specifics for anyone in particular. None the less they are replaced frequently. The complication rate you asked for is still 10%. Whether that is reasonable risk for an infusion every 2 mos as opposed to twice a week for a cancer patient is why you have a doctor. If you choose to go against the advice of the person most experienced in treating you condition and responsible for your care. is entirely your choice. I have no dog in the fight. Glad it went well for you. hers to continued success.