I recently underwent several rounds of FOLFOX treatments via Portacath. I had my port for 18 months with no issues. A friend is undergoing chemotherapy for treatment of lymphoma and her physician installed a PICC line . . . What's the advantage/disadvantage of a Portacath vs. PICC? Is it related to the type of chemo being administered?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods.Both the port-a-cath and PICC are central venous access systems which make administering chemotherapy much less cumbersome as it becomes more difficult to find the smaller veins in the arm once chemotherapy begins.Both can be used with any kind of chemotherapy.
1.Port-a-cath is surgically implanted and placed underneath the skin near the clavicle.
2.You can feel the port-a-cath underneath your skin, but there is no extension of the port-a-cath outside of the body.
3.After port placement surgical site heals, you can swim and bath without covering the site.
4.Maintained by infusion center while getting chemotherapy.If chemotherapy vacation, then the port must be maintained once a month to assure it continues to work.
1.PICC line is not surgically implanted and is placed in the upper arm.
2.There is an extension of the PICC line outside of the body at all times.
3.Since there is an external portion of the PICC outside the body, it has to be covered with waterproof material as it should not get wet.Getting it wet could be a source of infection.No immersion in water is allowed.
4.Daily maintenance with heparin flush, but can be maintained at home if home support system in place as patient cannot maintain PICC by themselves as it requires two hands.