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Port/BP/Blood draw questions, need second opinions

Love2Cats's picture
Posts: 127
Joined: Dec 2010

When I first got my port installed, the surgeon told me not got let them take my blood pressure, or draw blood from the arm on the side where my port is (my left side). I know that blood can be drawn from the port itself, but I don't go to the infusion center to get my blood drawn, because it is too far, so they take it from the top of my hands (my veins are too small in my arms).

My question is, now that I am healed, is it ok to get my BP and blood draw done from the arm on the side where the port is? I asked my onc, and she said it is better to get the BP done on the other side, but the blood can be drawn from either arm. I just don't want my veins on my right hand to get too scarred up and sensitive from repeated blood draws. I just want some second opinions on the subject. Thanks for your help.


herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

Guess, I can't answer that. I've had a port, never heard of the "don't get your blood pressure taken with that side" at all though.
And because I didn't get the port until 4 months into chemo, my veins hide every time, my last CT Scan they advised me to get my port accessed via the chemo nurses the next time. It took 4 tries, a few bruises and a tear or two to find the vein the last time I got my CT Scan.
For some reason (and don't take me at my word on this)I don't think I've heard of the veins hiding from having blood drawn too many times, they just kind of get upset over what the chemo does to them, (when you have a port, they just stay happy)but I made the mistake of not having a port first (thank goodness for this web site, or else I still wouldn't have a port), THANK YOU EVERY ONE for letting me know about ports!!! I'm eternally grateful!!!).
Hopefully, someone with more expertise in this matter will come on and let you know what went on with them.
Winter Marie

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herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

The oxi wasn't easy on the veins, the first 4 months I believe was done straight through the veins, and my veins have always been easy to find. When I used to be able to donate blood they would find a vein and be pumping away in no time.
But that chemo made my veins all lumpy and (nicely enough though, now, they aren't so lumpy anymore)but trying to find one is very hard. They got out this little ultra sound machine when I was having my surgery because they couldn't find a vein. I never knew they had ultra sound machines for veins before. Ahhh, the modern medical world.
But yes, only since the chemo have they been difficult to find.
Winter Marie

jararno's picture
Posts: 189
Joined: May 2010


I was never told anything at all about the BP or venipuncture sites with the port, but I have recently been told that the blood pressure should be on the opposite side of the port and the blood draws too. But I just went for my colonoscopy and the nurse had one he[[ of a time getting a picc line set up in my right hand ( the port side ) that one "rolled" and then she tried for the underside of my right forearm.....that one "blew out". Luckily another nurse came in and was able to set it up in the left hand on the first try. Unfortunately by this time I was vary unhappy and had started vomitting. I have never had so much trouble before, but I usually get "stuck" in the middle of my arm with no trouble.

I would think that the blood draws in the hand shouldn't cause too much scarring, but depends on how often you get it done??

Unfortunately most Docs/nurses usually seem very uninterested and uninformed about the Ports except for the oncology nurses. I always make sure that medical people know about the port and I usually get the response that it doesn't matter for this proceedure. ( Just had an anesthesiologist say that yesterday! )

This is a very good question! I will see what I can find out!

Take Care,


CherylHutch's picture
Posts: 1399
Joined: Apr 2007

Hmm... that's a new one on me. I'm on my second port now. I had one when I first had to have chemo and when that chemo ended, we waited a couple of months but all was fine and stable, so we had the port taken out. It stayed out for just over 3 years until January of this year when I had the second one put in. My oncologist and the surgeons/nurses/chemo nurses have never said anything about not taking blood pressure from my right side. I see my onc on Tuesday, so I will ask her about that.

Winter... I'm really surprised that you heard about a port from us here and not from your medical team, especially your oncologist!! When they put together your chemo plan, they would have known that you were going to be on chemo for at least 6 months and this was not a chemo where you only got 1 or 2 sessions. It is standard practice that if someone is going to be on multiple chemo sessions that a port is installed. How come your oncologist never mentioned it when you first started your chemo?? It is such a win-win situation for everyone. For the patient since it eliminates the need for all those pokes into veins. For the blood technician who sometimes has a heck of a time finding a vein where they can get enough blood. Granted, there are usually only a couple of people who are trained to draw blood from the port, so you want to make sure whoever does it has been trained and isn't just trying for the first time on you . And it makes it MUCH easier for the chemo nurses to get you set up with your chemo. Finding veins can be difficult at the best of times and none of the nurses actually want to put the patient through stress when they can't find a vein. So, I'm just really surprised that your oncologist didn't have this as part of your chemo plan.


Posts: 217
Joined: Apr 2010

since 1/09, has always worked fine, still have it in case and will keep it as long as it is ok or five years. Never told about blood pressure or draws. I have all my life had terrible veins and even had people not want to draw blood from me. I was told not to let anyone use port that wasn't trained and have not found anyone willing to access it from various locations, er's, techs, hospital. The only ones ok with it seem to be, onc locations and onc floor in hospital. I truly believe from my blood draw experiences that you are good at it or not good at it. IV's, blood draws whatever. I usually give them two tries and then I crab. Bless the person that invented the port.....it is a wonderful thing. Pat

herdizziness's picture
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I think it was because they truly had expected me to uhm, (delicately trying to phrase this)pass away before very much chemo was to be given, that I think they thought it didn't matter. They would have to switch arms half way through the oxi, as the vein pain was unbearable after a bit of it.
Winter Marie

abrub's picture
Posts: 2094
Joined: Mar 2010

for several years after I stopped chemo. I couldn't tolerate a blood draw or IV without pre-treating with Lidoderm patches for the first 2 years after stopping chemo. When I had my port removed, I didn't yet know about the vein problem, and I couldn't have IV sedation - it was too painful.

I keep Lidoderm on hand, and still use it prior to IVs for CT scans, but blood draws are now okay. Oxi is nasty stuff.

And yes, I did hear that I shouldn't have my bp done on the port side. No one said anything about blood draws, however.

Lori-S's picture
Posts: 1287
Joined: Sep 2010

I've never been told that I couldn't have BP or blood draws from my port side either. Actually the vien that works the best for blood draws is on my port side.

And I'm beginning to look like a junkie from all the sticks. I told that to the last one that did my bloodwork and she said ... no you don't look like a junkie to the professionals, they can tell because there is a big difference. Now, I just worry that the nonprofessionals will think I'm a junkie. hahaha

jararno's picture
Posts: 189
Joined: May 2010

I also think I am staring to look like a junkie! Well maybe just one of those "old" folks with bandaids all over their hands and arms!( colonoscopy picc line disaster ) Last week my throat was bandaged from having two nodules on my thyroid biopsied.

I am sooooooooooooooooooooooo tired of needles! ( I am quite a needle phobic too! ) I still have my port and will be having it flushed every 6 weeks since it is not being accessed. ( I still think it should be monthly but I compromised with my ONC who said every three months!!! I showed him all of my Power Port paperwork....I guess I need to have the company send him information!!! )

Have a great day,

Take Care,


thxmiker's picture
Posts: 1282
Joined: Oct 2010

They take the BP from either the port side or the opposite side and have had no difference in BP for me. My oncologist team draws blood from the port every two weeks.

Maybe you have an unusual type of port?
Maybe your Onc is cautious?
Is there another reason to draw off of the other side?

What is your GPs opinion?

Best Always, mike

pete43lost_at_sea's picture
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

hi sandy,

my ports only seems to work for chemo.

they tried getting bloods out of my port to no avail so they went back to the arm, which actually suits me as the chemo center is a longer drive than my local blood test clinic


Posts: 63
Joined: Feb 2011

My partner has a pic line in his left arm, as he is right handed,in since Sept 09, no problems. They always do the blood pressure from the right arm, and only the chemo nurses or presently the drug trial team draw bloods from the port.

He hates blood being drawn from the right arm as they have difficulty locating a vein at times.

There wasa recent article here in the UK about 'false blood pressure readings'in a nutshell it said that peoples readings at hospitals were often higher because of anxiety and the way they were feeling. Even more so for people being treated for Cancer I would expect, so if you get 'odd' readings make sure they are tested again elsewhere, it was suggested at your Dr's surgery or even by a do it yourself kit you can take home.


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PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4885
Joined: May 2005

I never heard that one either. I've been told to sit straight and not cross my feet/legs but that's about it.

Kenny H.'s picture
Kenny H.
Posts: 503
Joined: Aug 2010

I was told to NEVER allow blood draws from the port, strictly for chemo use.

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