Thursday, April 22, 2010

PICC"s and Ports

So this is kinda in response to Ronnie's post today at about getting his PICC placed yesterday and I'm looking forward to his post tomorrow about why he doesn't want a port placed and this is my PICC and port story.

For the laiman that read my blog PICC's are central lines that are placed in a vein in the arm and runs a line up almost all the way to the heart and can last for a long period of time but are not permanent. And a port is a permanent line that is placed in the arm or the chest that will last for years.

The port conversation has been coming up with this stay for me, because they had a hard time placing my PICC in my right arm, they had to balloon my vein to get it in and said my right arm is not accessible after this and my left arm is not available anymore either, so the dreaded port thoughts are here. I had a port when I was younger and the story goes.. I had it placed when I was 16 the year 2000, I was very against it at the time but at that time PICC line placement was not as "easy" as it is now, so it was my only option, so in honor of vanity I had it put in my upper left arm where it was not very visible. After getting use to it and seeing how easy it was for Iv's I loved it and took very good care of it. Fast forward to 2007... I went in for a clean out and my port was not working properly, it wasn't flushing well and it burned in my arm which was not normal. They stopped using it, I did not know what was wrong with it until the doctor came in and started asking all these strange questions, like had I ever had a heart cath, and any heart operations. I was like why are you asking all these weird questions, and then they showed me the x-ray, a 7 inch piece of my port had broke off at my shoulder and went into my heart, lodged in the pulmonary artery to be exact. They did not know how long it had been there since I had not had an x-ray since 2005 (bad keep up that was my fault) they did not know if it would move anymore, or if it had blood clots around it that would move and cause problems, or cause problems when they tried to remove it. It was SCARY I was afraid I would go to sleep and it would move or a blood clot would move and I would not wake up. So that was the next step how would they remove it and at what hospital because Sparrow in Lansing MI where I was had never seen anything like it. So my doctors called and made arraignments to go to University of Michigan in Ann Arbor MI and a heart doctor did a heart catheter with a special made tool with grabbers on it and went in and pulled it out, I was awake the whole time a little loopy with relaxants but still cognitive enough and watched on a monitor which for me was really cool for me because I like to see whats going on when they do stuff to me. But it came out ok and I recovered, and they took the other half out at Sparrow. So now I'm at a point where my next clean out may require a Port again, and I have mixed feelings about it. I know how great it was and I liked the easy access and not having to wait a day or two to get a PICC placed, but then I think about what happened and it scares me to get one again. Ultimately I will do what I have to for the better of my health and my guess is that will be a Port again some day, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.


  1. I've had my Port now for 9 years. Angela James was shocked that I've had the same port for 9 years. I've never had any problems with it. She thought they only lasted 4 or 5 years.

    I told her the only thing I've done is to make sure it's flushed exactly once a month with saline and heparin. That's it.

    Ports have come a long way since 2000 and even 2001. They have a new one out, it's purple.

    The only reason why I got one back in December 2001 was because I had a PICC placed and they had a very hard time due to scar tissue. They kept pushing, and pushing, and pushing on my arm to thread it through. In a day my arm was purple from the bend of my arm to my armpit. My nurse mentioned something about getting a port, and I agreed. I wasn't going through that pain again.


  2. Oh, my port is in my arm (right bicep on the side)