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Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

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Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby worrieddaughter » Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:39 pm

My mom has had a PICC line for a year now and she is SOOOOOO tired of it. Whats the difference between a port and a PICC, is one better? what is the difference ? Would a port be more convenient?
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby hannahw » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:09 pm

I think there are a number of variables and both a PICC and a port serve useful purposes, but personally, I'd go with a port. The port goes under the skin (near the collar bone) so it doesn't hang out like a PICC. The PICC can be much more inconvenient in this regard. But, inserting the port is a bit more of a procedure. The port doesn't need to be flushed nearly as often and doesn't carry as a high a risk for infection. One of the downsides to the port is accessing. You're getting a poke with a pretty big needle every time you access, whereas with the PICC you're just sticking the lumen.

For overall comfort and convenience, I think the port is preferable if you need vein access for any length of time. A port is generally stable and can be kept in place for years without a lot of maintenance. Some people leave their port in even after finishing chemo.
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby surfingon » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:17 pm

When my husband was about to begin chemo, his surgeon urged him to get a port in the strongest possible way, told him that doing so would be something he would look back on as one of the best decisions of his life. I think that the surgeon was right--that port just made everything medical so much easier. He had a Power Port, which made the numerous CAT scans and RFA procedures SOOO much easier, as the CAT scan dye could be injected quickly and efficiently.

What I know about PICC lines is that our neighbor, who also had colon cancer, was given a PICC line and after talking to my husband about this port and having had the PICC line for quite a while, changed over to a port and was much happier-- way less hassle. In her case, the port was something she had to pay for out-of-pocket (not covered by her insurance), but she felt that it was well worth it. Both she and my husband were avid surfers, and having a port meant that they could continue to surf, which was impossible for her with the PICC line.

Hope this is helpful,
Rachel
caregiver to husband John
Stage III CC 3-05
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby SkiFletch » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:28 pm

Don't know much about the PICC line since I have a port myself, but I LOVE my port. Getting it installed was a little bit of a discomfort, but those couple days were worth the ease/convenience of this thing. I'm a big fan :)
11/13/09 5cm Stage IV 9/25 lymph nodes w/2cm peritoneal met at 29 YoA
12/15/09 LA right hemi-colectomy
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby String » Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:36 pm

I had a PICC line and it was OK fro the first 9 treatments but after that I got an infection the required twice a daily cleaning and was a pain in butt for the last 3 treatments. If I have to do it again I'm going to ask for a port.
The PICC is quite restricting in what you can do from a physical point of view in using you arm.
Stage IV colon with mets to liver October 07
Stage II kidney cancer
NED 4/24/2014
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby hannahw » Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:16 pm

He had a Power Port, which made the numerous CAT scans and RFA procedures SOOO much easier, as the CAT scan dye could be injected quickly and efficiently.

Not sure about this, but I seem to recall an IV nurse telling me that PICC lumen's can also do this stuff. If that's correct, I don't think it was always the case, but I think it may be the case now.
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby Gaelen » Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:07 pm

Worrieddaughter, your mom is Stage IV, which means she's going to need a reliable, low-maintenance infection-free access line for chemo, blood draws, scans, etc., for a long time.

If I were her, I'd tell her doc that "I want a port, schedule it now!" Just because it's there doesn't mean that a PICC line is intended to be in place for a whole year. Yes, I know it happens. IMNSHO, it shouldn't. ;)
She'd be able to have much more freedom of activity with a port (which is a completely closed system that is accessed by a needle stick.)

If she's tired of her PICC line, there's no reason she needs to keep it. A port surgery is in/out surgery that takes less than half a day. If she's currently on Avastin, that needs to be held for a minimum of four weeks, but her other chemos can continue and they can do a port insertion on an off-week. They'd have to do the same thing if the PICC clogged.
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4/04: dx'd @48 StageIV RectalCA w/9 liver mets. 8 chemos, 4 surgeries, last remission 34 mos.
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby Joanne 814 » Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:56 pm

Go with the port. The surgery is not bad to have it inserted. Gook Luck!

ONWARD!

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Age: 49
Dx: Nov 07 @ age 43
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Colon Resection: Nov 07, 4 of 27 LN
Chemo/Radiation: 28 treatments w/constant 5FU (Jan-Feb 08)
Chemo: Folfox, 12 cycles (Mar-Aug 08) DONE 8-8-08
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby jmarie » Sat Mar 27, 2010 9:52 pm

I absolutely hated my PICC lines. When I was pregnant and newly dx'd they gave me a PIICC line as all my veins on my arms were impossible to access. It was a huge hassle, showering/bathing each day, you have to wrap it so it stays dry. Plus the twice a day flushes to keep it working. After a few months that got infected. A new PICC line was put in which then caused some blood clots and I had to bloodthinner shots in my stomach everyday for nearly 3 months.

I love my port. Never have to worry about it. Never had any problems with it.t need to have it flushed every two months.
DX Stage IV 11/25/08
mets liver lung, kras mutant
Baby 2yrs old! I am 32yrs
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby airic » Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:37 pm

Port all the way. Love mine. They could finaly draw blood from it on 3rd treatment. It is kind of a weird feeling when you touch the area. Had to adjust seat belt height because it laid across it and that felt weird.
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8 inches of Colon removed 11-13-09
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Liver peice removed 11-13-09
Colosotmy Bag 11-17-09
Start Chomo FLOFOX6 Jan. 4th 2010
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby Terry » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:13 am

For one, a port doesn't have an external device so it won't get caught on anything. You also if it's placed correctly won't even know it's there. The only thing is you feel the stick when you get treatment but it's not bad and you can numb it (get an RX) or have them mostly numb it with stuff they have when you get there. It's been a while since I cared for a picc line but if I remember correctly you can't draw blood off it can you? I would recommend a port to anyone.
DX 7/3/07
Chemo, radiation, 20 mo. chemo, IMRT, cyberknife, 6/11 lobectomy.
1/16 resection perm. colostomy intraop. rad.
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby hannahw » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:14 am

Had to adjust seat belt height because it laid across it and that felt weird.

Pretty sure you can have the port inserted on either side (left or right), so for people who drive a lot (or ride shotgun a lot), this might be something to factor in when deciding which side to have the port placed on.
Daughter of Dad with Stage IV CC
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby HollyID » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:46 am

hannahw wrote:
He had a Power Port, which made the numerous CAT scans and RFA procedures SOOO much easier, as the CAT scan dye could be injected quickly and efficiently.

Not sure about this, but I seem to recall an IV nurse telling me that PICC lumen's can also do this stuff. If that's correct, I don't think it was always the case, but I think it may be the case now.


Power ports can be injected quickly, which most scans are. You can inject 5cc of fluid in a second. Can't do that with a PICC. Also, PICC's have a higher incidence of infection than does a port. At least this is what I notice.

I absolutely LOVE my port. I have no clue it's even there and it's never once failed me. Time wise: I got the hospital at 10, had surgery and was home by 3. I didn't need pain meds for it. I think I may have taken an extra strength tylenol, but that was it. Seriously, I wouldn't ever do a PICC if I had a choice between the two. The PICC hangs out, you have to cover it for showers, and it snags on everything. Personally, I wouldn't want that.
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11/17/09 colonoscopy;
11/23/09 dx with adenocarcinoma;
12/03/09 LAR
Stage IIIB T3N1M0 1/11 LN
1/12/09 CT NED
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby hannahw » Sun Mar 28, 2010 1:25 am

I think the main benefit to a PICC is that if you're only going to need it briefly, it's easier to put in and take out. But if you're going to need access for a while, a port is the way to go. Still, I don't want to see people whose only option is a PICC freaking out about it. The PICC is totally doable if that's what's available to you. If your insurance won't cover a port, or whatever, you'll do fine with a PICC.

I'm still not sure about what can be injected into a PICC for scans. My Dad had a PICC briefly and I'm pretty sure he had a liver scan during that time and they were able to inject the dye into the PICC. It all kinda blends together after a while, but I think the reason it stands out in my mind is because I stopped the tech to question him as to whether the PICC could handle the dye injection. But I could be remembering incorrectly.

Here's what I'm thinking of, but maybe I'm not understanding the differences between what this can do and what a port can do. It does say 5ml/sec. Isn't that the same?
http://www.bardaccess.com/powerpicc/front.php

Something else I'm not sure about, but a PICC can support multiple lumens which allows for multiple therapies at once like TPN and chemo. Can a port do the same? My Dad has never needed more than one therapy at a time so I'm not sure how that works.
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Re: Port vs PICC which is better? Why one over the other?

Postby PennyLane » Sun Mar 28, 2010 8:30 am

Another very good reason I can think of to have a port is it doesn't hurt when you are getting the chemo! I had a port for the first 4 months of my chemo and then had to have it removed because I got a couple of blood clots. So I took the next 2 treatments just with an IV in my arm and it hurt like a son of a gun for the whole 2 hours while I sat there and it was pumped in! I was getting Oxaliplatin during the infusion so if you mother isn't going to get it then it might not be so bad, I don't know if other drugs have the same affect or not. I haven't had a PICC line so don't know whether there is pain with it or not really, but something to ask the doc about. Also if your mother is small or thin ask if she can get a low profile port it won't show as much.

Best of luck to your mom!
Penny

7/08 DX Rectal Cancer
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11/08 Surgery, Tumor removed,
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