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Portacath Complications

August 11, 2011

The portacath catheter is a device that is used in order for different drugs to be brought into the body of the patient. It is placed under the skin by making two little incisions and the catheter that is attached to the septum gets into one of the large veins into the upper right part of the chest. This is a very useful appliance because it is much more comfortable for the patient than being injected in the hand every single time. It is also safer and more comfortable for nurses and doctors too.

However, even if this is a high-quality appliance there is likelihood of some complications to occur. Some of them would occur more often and others would be extremely rare. But doctors should always be alert and should always be as careful as possible in trying to avoid all of these complications.

One possible complication is bacterial infection. If the instruments and the appliance itself are not sterile enough it is possible for some bacteria to get into it and infect the patient. This is extremely dangerous because it would weaken even more the already weakened patient. The portacath has to be removed as soon as it is possible. Luckily, this complication is very rare.

Another possible portacath complication is thrombosis. This can happen if the portacath is not used quite often. This would lead to clots blocking it and this would mean that it has to be removed or replaced. The patient can, however, prevent this from happening by regularly cleaning with heparin and saline that would not allow for clots to form.

Pneumothorax is yet another possible complication. It represents a puncture in the lungs. This can happen when the doctor is trying to get access to the vein but punctures the lungs instead.
Fortunately, this complication occurs extremely rarely, especially if the doctor is very well trained at what they are doing.

Puncturing an artery can cause even more complications because the blood pressure in arteries is higher and the blood flow that would rush into the patient’s body would be more. This condition is documented only several times because of the fact that the procedure is monitored by ultrasound guidance.

Mechanical failure is one of the most dangerous conditions that can occur after placing a portacath catheter. This complication represents a part of the catheter to break down and run with the blood flow. This may deal some serious harm to the human body and can be extremely dangerous. However, it is not at all likely that this condition would occur because of the fact that the portacath catheters are carefully manufactured and there is control over the manufacturers by the country. This is a very rare condition but the patient has to be monitored because even if this complication occurs if the doctors find out that this has happened they would be able to help the patient and prevent any further complications.


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