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Pump or port issue?

Posts: 1598
Joined: Aug 2012

My husband re-started Folfox and just had his 4th infusion on Friday and came home with the pump that was set for 46 hrs.  Friday around midnight, he noticed some blood in the line and called the 800 # on the pump.  They told him the pump was probably too low.  He had it on the floor covered with blankets because the sound makes him angry :)!  They said to raise it up and not worry

Saturday around 4 the alarm went off - he again called the 800 # and they told him how to reset it and said he should be fine.  This morning at 5 a.m. he looked at it and said he didnt' think it was working.  We could still hear it running, but the bag was just as full and number wasn't advancing.  i called the oncology floor at the hospital to let them know what was going on.  They wanted him to come in.   They sent in the pharmacist and a couple of nurses and ended up calling his oncologist at home.  She wants him to come during the week for a test to make sure it's not an issue with the port, but they think it's just a bad pump....at least that's what they told us.  We are hoping it's not a port issue since he just started Avastin on Friday. 

Has anyone had issues like this with the pump?

Posts: 1170
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi Jen.  They likely want to do a portogram to rule out a port issue.  Is he still on blood thinners?  Should be an easy fix either way.  Quite often sludge builds up around the port and they have to shoot some TPA through it to clear it out.  They let it soak for a couple hours and then drain it.  Sort of like Liquid Plumber.  I wouldn't think a port issue would affect him getting the avastin.  Have they ever not gotten a blood return when they flush the port?

Posts: 1598
Joined: Aug 2012

Thanks Chels - yup still on Lovenox.    They said we'd be there for awhile and in the time I ran downstairs for coffee, the dr called the nurse back and I wasn't there to get the info on the test they want to do.  Hopefully that's all it is...should know tomorrow or tuesday.    The port has been great and never had a problem with blood return, though the nurse today said it wasn't as great as she would like ..whatever that means.    I was thinking if they had to pull this port out and put another one in they wouldn't do it for 6 weeks because of the avastin.  

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 4899
Joined: Feb 2009

Sometimes you do just get a bad pump.  Hope that's all it is.  As for the noise, put it under a pillow and then cover with blanket.  My husband didn't sleep with me on those nights so the pillow was beside me.  It really helps alot because the noise also drove me crazy.  Hope he gets this situation figured out soon.


Posts: 509
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi Jen .. hope it is and easy fix and just a pump issue.  I never had an issue with either so not able to help out there.  

I did have the same angry feeling at the pump sound though.  I found keeping the TV on low really really helped.  It was comforting on the steroid night when I would sit right up at 2 AM.  Nature channels had soothing sounds which allowed me to doze.  


Posts: 1598
Joined: Aug 2012

Thanks all - the onc emailed this am and said it's probably the pump, but she wants to do the port test on Wed.   Yes, he wraps it in blankets and covers it with a pillow.  It's really a huge annoyance for him!

Lovekitties's picture
Posts: 3270
Joined: Jan 2010

Covering the pump to this extent may be contributing to a pump malfunction.  I would imagine that this covering restricts the amount of air it gets to function.

Is it possible to get a longer tube so that the pump can be placed further from the bed...or under the bed to help disapate the noise?

Is it possible to "build" a pump cover out of a cardboard box...an opening for air in on the opposite side of teh opening for the tubing?

I have no personal experience with this, but seems like there must be alternatives which allow for better sleep...maybe even ear plugs.

Marie who loves kitties

Posts: 21
Joined: Dec 2012

Hi Jen,

The pump noise will seem sort of normal after a number of sessions. I am coming up to my 40th chemo infusion and it is simply part f me now. I have been fortunate that my port has behaved well over the last 18 months or so and does what it is supposed to. I have my pump sitting on the beside table next to me at night and rarely misses a beat. Had the odd high pressure alarm, but that was mainly due to me trying to strangle myself with the tubing during the middle of he night or a partial obstruction with the port needle. They use two different types of butterfly needles here in Australia. The newest version seems to be working well and no blockages. The older type gets the occasional high pressure either from a slight blockage in the needle or mis-alignment into the port which has the needle siting to the edge more than rather centre and creates a blockage.



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