A port-a-cath is a device placed semi-permanently under the skin that allows for easy access to the blood vessels (veins). It can be used to draw blood samples, administer medications, or administer contrast for diagnostic imaging tests. Port-a-caths are often used when a patient requires frequent and long-term intravenous therapy, such as chemotherapy for cancer patients. Placement is typically done in the chest by a skilled interventional radiologist. By creating an access site, the patient’s blood vessels are protected from frequent blood draws and chemotherapy medications that can cause blood vessel damage.
Port-a-cath placement is usually done under both ultrasound and fluoroscopic guidance. Ultrasound uses sound waves to locate the vein and guide catheter placement. Fluoroscopy uses real-time X-ray images for guidance, with a small amount iodine-based contrast given in rare instances.
Port-a-cath placement is recommended when there is a need for frequent access to the patient’s blood supply. This could be to:
Also, some chemotherapy agents are toxic to the smaller blood vessels. Port-a-caths offer access to a larger vein of the body which can tolerate chemotherapy without harm to the blood vessel.
To schedule a port-a-cath placement please speak with your doctor and call our interventional team at (512) 467-XRAY or (512) 467-9729. A provider referral is required to make an appointment.
ARA continues to follow CDC guidelines in requiring employees and patients to wear masks at our imaging centers for the safety of all.