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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Switch to port (vs PICC)?? Help.

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Author Topic: Switch to port (vs PICC)?? Help.
LymeNet Contributor
Member # 18155

Icon 1 posted      Profile for swachsler     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I've had PICCs since Aug. 09. The first lasted 6 months, the 2nd 9 months, and now the new one is only a month old and it's clogged!

Last month, the problem was a clot in my arm. It was put in the other arm, and I'm on Lovanox (low-molecular-weight heparin) since the clot, and last night my PICC clogged completely again:

Cannot get ANYthing in or out, and if I push, there's pain in my arm. So I think it's another clot.

We already know I have hypercoagulation from an ISAAC panel several years ago, and because my blood is often visibly sludgy and dark.

I have had blood-return probs with the first 2 PICCs because of my hypercoagulation. This one was still so new we WERE getting blood return, and now I can't even flush.

I had never considered a port because:

1. I have severe MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity), and I *think* (??) it's an in-patient procedure with anesthesia, all of which would be risky for me,


2. I keloid very easily on my chest -- I have a keloid that grew spontaneously (from a pimple!) over the course of years, often infected and painful, and did stop growing with IV abx, now about 4.5" wide and 1.5" long.

I'm pretty sure if I have to put needles in my chest and/or have any sort of wound there, it will keloid severely. Now I'm wondering if that's worth paying the price not to keep having PICC problems.

I've asked LLMD to refer me to a consult with an interventional radiologist, because LLMD couldn't answer all my questions. LLMD is willing to order a port if I decide to go that route.

Questions: Has anyone here switch from a PICC to a port?

What are the different kinds of ports? Are there any that don't involve the chest?

What questions should I ask the radiologist?

Does anyone have good links that explain all the different types of ports in detail?

I have tried googling, but am having such a hard time taking in information, I'm so overwhelmed.

Thank you!

Posts: 223 | From Western Mass. | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Choosing the safest and most effective interveneous line

I would look at the PDF at the top of this search and other sites that educate and show pictures and tell you what the risks are of each and what they are used for and all your options.

Education is key.

I had both and though I did not have clotting problems so I do not feel like a good person to guide you. I did get sepsis with a port so it does happen. But my home health nurse was not so great I found out after I started comparing people down the line

If you know how to care for one correctly and others are helping you make sure to speak up if they skip steps or use the wrong things to cover it etc.

If you have any direct questions about the port vs picc in my experience feel free to PM me.

Posts: 2747 | From Unites States Of America | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LymeNet Contributor
Member # 18155

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anyone? esp. anyone with mcs?
Posts: 223 | From Western Mass. | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I had PICC last year and had continuing pain from it (that's unusual, though). It finally had to be removed, because it developed a leak in the catheter.

I now have a port, which I much prefer. It is a little trickier getting a good port nurse to access it---that's changing the needle and doing the dressing.

It's an out-patient procedure to have it put in. It doesn't take long. They use local anesthetic (lidocaine, I'm sure) and light sedation. But I was conscious and talking with the surgeon throughout---without pain, of course.

I got a referral to the head of the Interventional Radiology Dept. at the best hospital. I had a consult ahead of time with the surgeon to discuss which kind of port, where, anesthesia, etc.

It still could be possible, however, that you might have occlusion problems with the port, too. It sounds like you need more of something (heparin??) to prevent this. Maybe you need a consult with a hematologist about this issue?

In the meantime, your LLMD can order Cath-Flow, which your nurse should be able to use on you to unblock the blockage. You could have several doses on hand, so that it could be used when needed. I did that when I had an occlusion with my PICC.

Do lots of research, so you get the best solution to your particular situation.

Oh, and it can be placed in your arm, I understand. I have it in my chest, which is more usual. There are Groshongs, etc. you can also discuss what the ports that you are considering are made out of for your MCS issues, ie, mine is titanium with a silicone pocket where the needle goes in.

BTW, having a needle in your port isn't as bad as it sounds, outside of the needle stick.

Posts: 3753 | From around | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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