Removal of Port-A-Cath

The removal of a small drum-like device and long, thin tube that was placed in a large blood vessel for intravenous treatments.

The removal of a small drum-like device and long, thin tube that was placed in a large blood vessel for intravenous treatments.

This refers to the removal of a small drum-like device and long, thin tube that was placed in a large blood vessel to administer intravenous fluids and medications. The long, thin tube is known as a central line catheter and the small drum-like device is known as a port. The tip of the catheter is placed very close to the entry of the right side of the heart. It can be used to place medications, nutrition and fluid into the blood. They can also be used to take a sample of blood for testing.

  • The port and part of the catheter are usually placed under the skin of the chest or arm during a minor surgery.
  • Special needles are used to access the port, which has a self-sealing membrane across the top.
  • The central line catheter and port stay in place as long as they are needed. In some cases, such as the development of an infection or blockage, they need to be removed or replaced before treatment is completed.
  • A central line and port can remain in place for weeks, months or even years.

Repeatedly placing intravenous catheters into the small veins in the hand or arm can cause wear and tear on the veins. This can result in more difficulty getting an intravenous line in the damaged veins. Your healthcare provider may have recommended placement of a central line catheter and port so you can receive intravenous fluids and medications.

  • Once you no longer need to receive the treatments, your healthcare provider will recommend removal of the central line and port.
  • This is a minor surgery that is typically done as an outpatient procedure.
  • It is usually easier to take the catheter and port out than to put them in.

When you are having your central line removed, prior to surgery tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery and get clear instructions on what you need to do. These may include:

  • Medications you should not take before the surgery, such as blood thinners
  • Regular medications you should continue to take on the day of your surgery
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before the surgery

If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking, as it can interfere with your recovery.

During your surgery, you will receive medication to keep you comfortable and pain free.

  • In most cases, a central line is removed after numbing the skin at the site of the device (topical anesthesia).
  • In rare circumstances, general anesthesia (where you are put into a deep sleep and are unable to see, hear or feel anything) may be used.

If your central line is going to be removed, ask your healthcare provider the following questions.

  • Do you believe I will need additional intravenous treatments? If so, when?
  • How long will the procedure take?
  • What symptoms are normal after the procedure? When should I be concerned?
  • Are there any restrictions on my activities (for example, bathing) after the central line is removed?

Prior to discharge, you should understand all home care instructions. This includes symptoms to report before your next appointment, medications and their side effects and follow-up plans. Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and for help at home while you recover.


Also known as:

Removal of Port-A-Cath
Blood Draw
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