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What different kinds of ports are used for chemotherapy?

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Quick Answer

Different kinds of ports used for chemotherapy include single and double lumen ports, metal and plastic ports, and ports that are safe for use during imaging studies, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Some brand names of ports are BardPort, Mediport, PowerPort and Port-a-Cath, and different brands have slight differences in size and shape. All ports have a similar design featuring a drum covered with a self-sealing silicon membrane connected to a major vein via a catheter.

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Full Answer

Depending on the patient and the type of chemotherapy used, port placement occurs under the skin in the chest or upper arm, states the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The drum part of the device sits just under the skin with the membrane easily accessible for injections. A soft, flexible tube connects the drum to a major vein in the chest area near the heart. To use the port, a nurse first cleans the skin and then inserts a needle for administering the chemotherapy medications. A double lumen port allows two medication to be administered at once.

Catheters, which are flexible tubes inserted directly into the vein with a portion of the tube remaining above the skin, are an alternative option to ports for some chemotherapy patients, maintains the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Peripherally inserted central catheters, known as PICC lines, connect to the large vein at the elbow, and central lines or tunneled venous catheters connect to a large vein under the collarbone or in the neck.

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