Tuesday, January 18, 2005

What's a port-a-cath?

So glad you asked. As you can see, there's a portal (mine's made of some sort of plastic), a septum (where you stick the needle) with a "French" catheter that extends into my superior vena cava (in fact, it follows the vena cava all the way to the atrium, one of the heart's four chambers). Officially, it's a BardPort® MRI Plastic Hard Base Port With Attachable Open Ended 9.6 French Catheter with a Peel-Apart Percutaneous Introducer System.

The neat thing about this is two-fold:
  1. Easy access for I.V. drug infusion (i.e, chemo)
  2. Easy access for blood sampling
Anything that reduces the number of holes to be drilled into my arms is OK by me. It comes out after chemo is over (eventually). Meanwhile, I have a card to carry to let people know I have it. Don't know if it will set off airport security alarms or not.

For those of you who'd like to try this at home, here are the instructions for implanting. Don't miss all the fine illustrations, either! (warning: PDF links)


Scott Clay said...

I've been advocating for months that we change the name to Freedom catheters.