Going through the sterile procedures to access your portacath can be expensive and a hassle, but if you infuse Cinryze often, you want your port to be quickly and easily accessible.
So, how long can you leave your port accessed; i.e., how long can you leave the Huber needle in the portacath covered by a clear dressing, such as an OpSite?
Well, here are the results of an interesting study that says more than a week is completely safe!
Huber needle in situ inpatients under continuous infusion chemotherapy: results of a study, Phase II
Prof Inferm. 2000 Apr-Jun;53(2):71-4.
[Article in Italian]
Milani A, Vernizzi S, Passoni C, Sociale O, Macciola F, Grimaldi C, Comensoli M, Peruzzotti G, Lunghi L, Colleoni M.
Divisione di Oncologia Medica, Instituto Europeo di Oncologia, Milano, Italia.
PURPOSE: Chemotherapy administered as a continuous infusion is a widely used treatment in oncology. Huber needle deserves close attention during chemotherapy, but no data are reported on how long it can be left in situ without change. We therefore evaluated the feasibility of leaving in situ the needle for a prolonged time. METHODS: Patients candidated to continuous infusion chemotherapy were considered eligible for the study. The needle was changed at the end of the 21-day period when the patient started a new cycle of chemotherapy. On that occasion the site of injection was evaluated while replacing the needle. RESULTS: On 129 evaluable patients submitted to continuous infusion chemotherapy, 124 patients did not demonstrate any adverse cutaneous reaction. Five patients (3.8%) presented sores but we were able to continue the treatment leaving in situ the needle. CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrated that the needle can be left in situ for the entire time the patient is at home between cycles of chemotherapy. This procedure avoids patient stress and anxiety due to unjustified substitutions of the needle.
So, the above study supports leaving the ports accessed for as long as 3 weeks. This following study supports an even longer timeframe, a whole month:
Port needles: do they need to be removed as frequently in infusional chemotherapy?
J Infus Nurs. 2003 Jul-Aug;26(4):239-42.
Karamanoglu A, Yumuk PF, Gumus M, Ekenel M, Aliustaoglu M, Selimen D, Sengoz M, Turhal NS.
Outpatient Chemotherapy Unit, Marmara University Hospital, Tophanelioglu C, 13/15 Altunizade, Uskudar, 81190 Istanbul, Turkey.
Protracted chemotherapy regimens are new treatment modalities used to treat patients with cancer. These treatments are preferred because of the ease of administration and limited side effects in the outpatient setting. Sixty patients were treated with continuous infusion chemotherapy via implanted infusion ports at Marmara University Hospital Outpatient Chemotherapy Unit in Istanbul, Turkey, from January 2000 to December 2001. Although usage of Huber needles for central venous catheters was limited to between 48 and 72 hours, needles were not removed unless there were signs of inflammatory reaction. The needles remained in place for 28 days (1-49 days) on average. No catheter infections, signs of local irritation, or thrombus formation were observed despite prolonged stay of the Huber needles. Huber needles can be left in place up to several weeks without any untoward effects as long as proper aseptic technique is used.
For the past month, I have been leaving my port accessed for two weeks and everything is going well. If all continues to be well, I may extend another week with a final goal of changing my Huber out monthly. This will decrease expense (i.e., supplies) and wear on the port.