Port malfunction

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tally
tally Member Posts: 48
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
At my last chemo, my port did not work properly. They could not get blood to come out of it. My port is only used for chemo, not blood draws. They rearranged my meds and put the Adriamycin last because they said this one could only be given through my port if they could get blood out of it. They had me move my head and arm in different positions but nothing seemed to work. They told me if it didn't work by the time they got to the Adriamycin, I would have to go to the hospital and get it checked out. Scared me to death. I prayed and prayed and when it came time for the Adriamycin, it started working. Has anyone had this happen? I have my next chemo this Thursday and I'm praying it will go okay.

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  • TawnyS
    TawnyS Member Posts: 144 Member
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    I had this happen
    I had this happen twice....but it was a defective needle both times. Very scary, though. They were telling me what I would need to go do if they couldn't get the port to work..and I am not a fan of the port. The whole time they were working on me they were telling me it could have gotten kinked inside....I almost passed out! Then they decided to try another needle. THAT'S WHAT IT WAS! Then, the very next week...same thing. At least we were prepared and figured it was the needle so they checked it out quicker and it was defective too! Did they change needles at all and maybe the needle was the problem? Did they flush your port really good after? I hope it doesn't happen again to you.
  • cats_toy
    cats_toy Member Posts: 1,462 Member
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    ports...
    tally, ports usually have a 99% success rate. I was not one of them. My port never worked, they had me turn every which way, they tried turning the port (ouch!), and even had me almost upside down at one time. It was tested (which you might ask them to do), and they found it was non-functional. I had already had two infusions of the Adriamycin, through my veins, the second one blowing out a vein and seeping under my skin, so I had the picc installed.
    Hopefully you won't need, the port just may need to be flushed.
    Hope all goes well for you
    Cat
  • Nancy6290
    Nancy6290 Member Posts: 9
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    Hi
    I just got removed my old port; last Thursday, and got a new one. My port never wk properly. Nurse never got blood out of it, they had to get it from my arms. My port moved, and instead of going down, was up. Meaning the chemo was going through a wrong vein.
    My advise to you is, call the DR that insert your port, and demand to get a radiology involved. Don't be scare..they will fix it. And don't let them to get blood from your arms..is not good...
    You see, you have to be in control and tell them what to do, and not wait around...
    I wish I did that the first day...But I was new....and believe the nurses....know....
    Now 'cause I have to wait to take care the port. I lost 2 chemo.....

    The thing is: I was supposed to follow up with my surgeon and I didn't....
    But now I am on a roll.....

    Sorry is late.....sorry for miss spelling...
    Good luck to you!
  • Flakey_Flake
    Flakey_Flake Member Posts: 130
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    Port
    Tally,

    I have a port, which worked just fine for months. Then one day, they couldn't get blood to draw back in it. But they could get it to accept fluids. My clinic has some pretty good people, and they thought it might be a clog at the end of the port. They gave me an infusion that would break up a clog, but to no avail. We tried all the calesthenics too. Since the port was accepting, but no drawing back, we went ahead with my infusion. One of the techs said that occasionally the catheter end of the port can draw up to the vein wall, the result being that you cannot draw blood back, but can infuse. After my infusion, the nurse tried again to draw blood back, and was successful. I guess ports are like any other thing. They can have quirks and problems. But in the big picture, I am glad I have my port (took me a few months to get used to it though) Don't give up. A poke in the port is alot better than a stab in the arm.

    Sharon
  • tgf
    tgf Member Posts: 950 Member
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    Port
    Tally,

    I have a port, which worked just fine for months. Then one day, they couldn't get blood to draw back in it. But they could get it to accept fluids. My clinic has some pretty good people, and they thought it might be a clog at the end of the port. They gave me an infusion that would break up a clog, but to no avail. We tried all the calesthenics too. Since the port was accepting, but no drawing back, we went ahead with my infusion. One of the techs said that occasionally the catheter end of the port can draw up to the vein wall, the result being that you cannot draw blood back, but can infuse. After my infusion, the nurse tried again to draw blood back, and was successful. I guess ports are like any other thing. They can have quirks and problems. But in the big picture, I am glad I have my port (took me a few months to get used to it though) Don't give up. A poke in the port is alot better than a stab in the arm.

    Sharon

    It happened
    When I went in for my first chemo ... they couldn't get the blood draw ...and kept flushing it etc. and I eventually "lost it" and became fairly hysterical. Crying and carrying on about how I had the port put in so I wouldn't have to get poked in the arm etc. The nurse was terrific and got me calmed down a bit ... and was very gentle when she did stick me in the arm ... but I was still EXTREMELY upset. She was able to do the chemo with the port. The nurse explained that this does happen once in awhile ... but not to get upset because everything will probably work just fine next time. And it did. There was only one other time during chemo that that had a tough time with the blood draw and that time I told them I'd "do anything!" to keep from getting stuck in the arm. I'm sure it was very entertaining for everyone else in there getting their chemo ... because I went through the arm over head ... standing up ... I even told the nurse I'd jump up and down if it would help. She finally decided to try tilting the recliner chair back ... and I mean WAY back. Beyond where recliners usually stop. I swear I thought I was going to slide right off the back of the chair onto the floor ... but ... guess what ... it worked. So ... maybe the trick is to stand on your head for those "difficult" blood draws.

    Good luck.

    hugs.
    Teena
  • ms_independent
    ms_independent Member Posts: 214
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    nurse perspective
    I thought I'd give you the nurse perspective. i worked in an outpatient department of a community hospital. I worked with pre and post operative patients as well as in the IV therapy department (not chemo, giving blood and other meds). I have seen everything mentioned here happen. The reality is---they are devices put into lots of different bodies by lots of different doctors being used by lots of different nurses with varying degrees of skill. Unfortunately, stuff happens. When it 1st happens you do the best you can to get what you need done that day. Then, I would recommend having it checked out by the radiology department (your onc or surgeon can order it). They can make sure it is in the right place, they can inject it with dye (under x-ray) to see what is actually happening. Until that is done there is no way to know what is causing the malfunction--only educated guesses. Often it is a little clot on the end and an injection of clot buster is all you need. Sometimes it is how the end of the tube lies against the side of the vein (you suck up the side of the vein instead of blood). This is why they try moving you into crazy positions---sometimes it's a 1 time thing and sometimes it's a chronic problem that may necessitate insertion of another port or PICC line.

    YOU have to decide what is acceptable and what is not. YOU have to tell your medical team what is acceptable to you and what is not. In a disease where there is little you can control---you can control what others are doing to your body. Never forget that! They are your caregivers, they are to take care of all of you---that includes your fears and feelings. They can't always fix everything but, they can certainly try to make it better and to validate you. Going for chemo or blood draws should never involve pain or fear of having pain. You have enough to deal with.

    As you can tell, I have a thing about patient rights. You know how every medical facility you go in has you sign a form that says they have given you a copy of their patients right policy (often in registration). Usually, they have you sign the paper without giving you the policy (at least in my experience). Read that baby sometime and feel empowered!

    I hate the battles our bodies and spirits have to fight to win against this beast. But, fight we will! To borrow shortcakes sign off----Girl Power!

    El
  • pattimc
    pattimc Member Posts: 431
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    nurse perspective
    I thought I'd give you the nurse perspective. i worked in an outpatient department of a community hospital. I worked with pre and post operative patients as well as in the IV therapy department (not chemo, giving blood and other meds). I have seen everything mentioned here happen. The reality is---they are devices put into lots of different bodies by lots of different doctors being used by lots of different nurses with varying degrees of skill. Unfortunately, stuff happens. When it 1st happens you do the best you can to get what you need done that day. Then, I would recommend having it checked out by the radiology department (your onc or surgeon can order it). They can make sure it is in the right place, they can inject it with dye (under x-ray) to see what is actually happening. Until that is done there is no way to know what is causing the malfunction--only educated guesses. Often it is a little clot on the end and an injection of clot buster is all you need. Sometimes it is how the end of the tube lies against the side of the vein (you suck up the side of the vein instead of blood). This is why they try moving you into crazy positions---sometimes it's a 1 time thing and sometimes it's a chronic problem that may necessitate insertion of another port or PICC line.

    YOU have to decide what is acceptable and what is not. YOU have to tell your medical team what is acceptable to you and what is not. In a disease where there is little you can control---you can control what others are doing to your body. Never forget that! They are your caregivers, they are to take care of all of you---that includes your fears and feelings. They can't always fix everything but, they can certainly try to make it better and to validate you. Going for chemo or blood draws should never involve pain or fear of having pain. You have enough to deal with.

    As you can tell, I have a thing about patient rights. You know how every medical facility you go in has you sign a form that says they have given you a copy of their patients right policy (often in registration). Usually, they have you sign the paper without giving you the policy (at least in my experience). Read that baby sometime and feel empowered!

    I hate the battles our bodies and spirits have to fight to win against this beast. But, fight we will! To borrow shortcakes sign off----Girl Power!

    El

    Excellent advice
    We do have to advocate on our own behalf and take control of our bodies!

    I'm getting my port out on May 7th but the last few times they used it for blood draws it was very, very difficult and I had to play the flying Wollendas to get it to work.

    I loved my port, but am so ready to get it taken out! Except for the part that he's only using a local.......yikes!