A chemoport is a small device, which consists of an implantable reservoir that is placed under the skin below the collar bone, this reservoir is connected to a thin silicone catheter or tube that is placed in the vein. The advantage of this vein-access device is that chemotherapy medications can be delivered directly into the vein, eliminating the need for multiple needle pricks at every chemotherapy cycle.
The procedure for chemoport placement is done in the operation theatre under C-arm (portable X-ray) guidance. The area where the port is to be placed is cleaned and a local anaesthetic injection is given at 2 places(neck and chest), this numbs the area. Under certain circumstances, like an apprehensive patient or a child, this procedure can also be done under general anaesthesia.
A chemoport is very beneficial to a patient undergoing any sort of chemotherapy as all the blood investigations, chemotherapy cycles and supportive intravenous medications can be given through it. This decreases the anxiety of multiple pricks, decrease in the chances of extravasation injuries and thrombophlebitis, leading to hassle-free treatments.
Care of the chemoport
It is essential to follow precautions once a chemoport has been placed. If cared adequately the chemoport can last for a period upto 2 years. It doesn’t hinder daily activities like movements, bathing etc , so one should take these precautions for the port to last longer.
- Sanitation and hygiene – to prevent infections (once infected the port has to be removed)
- The chemoport has to be flushed every 4th weekly by heparinised saline. This has to be done by a trained Onco-care nurse under aseptic precautions to avoid complications.
- The medications/chemotherapy/sample withdrawal must be attempted by professionals only.
Chemoport is now a standard of care practice all around the world for patients receiving chemotherapy. It helps the cancer patients by bringing ease and comfort for taking chemotherapy, thereby increasing the compliance for treatment.