IV Services Newsletter

January 2016

All you need to know about Port-A-Cath's

Port-A-Cath's may be referred to as the following: Mediport, PowerPort, PAC, VAD, Vascular Access Port, and/or just a port. Ports are surgically implanted by a physician; The physician inserts either a single-lumen or a double-lumen device.

Caring for a Port-A-Cath

IV Services performs visual PAC checks daily on all BUMC patients with accessed ports (excluding Collins 5,6, &7). The IV nurse assesses the dressing to make sure it is clean, dry, and intact. He/she also ensures the dressing is labeled properly with the time, date and nurse's initials. IV Services will perform dressing or needle changes during this time if necessary. If IV Services is unavailable, an RN on the floor can perform the sterile dressing change (being careful not to dislodge the needle). Needle changes are done every seven days by the IV nurse, and cap changes should be done by the floor RN every four days.


Port-A-Caths should be assessed for blood return upon access and with intermittent use to ensure patency. If blood return is not present or cannot not be established, a doctor must be notified for an order to use the line. The physician may also request to have the line declotted with TPA. TPA of a port is done by an IV Services Team member.

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Communication: Bedside RN to IV RN

In the case of a new patient that needs their port accessed, please page IV Team, enter a PAC access order, and have the following information:

  • Type of port (Mediport or PowerPort)
  • Length of needle that patient typically requires
  • Adhesive allergies
  • MD order to access port

Ports should be entered into the EHR by adding a Structured Notes Entry and choosing the Vascular Access Port option. If this is not done correctly IV Services will not know about the port.


If a port dressing becomes soiled or loose or a port needs to be discontinued during the hours of 0700-2200, please page IV Services and enter a Line management order.

Flushing Protocol

Before Medication: 10 mL saline flush

After Medication: 10 mL saline flush

After Lab Draw: 20 mL saline flush

Catheter Maintenance: 10 mL saline flush prior to heparin AND maintain with 5mL heparin (100 units/mL) every 4 weeks

Deaccessing Implanted Ports: Prior to deaccessing follow proper catheter maintenance then flush port with 5 mL heparin (100 units/mL)


*If provider wishes for heparin to be used more often, they must specify per provider order.

*Do not use heparin if contraindicated for the patient.

*NEVER use less than a 10 mL syringe on a port.

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