P.A.S. Port and PORT-A-CATH
Two years ago, a woman I know with cystic fibrosis who goes to a different hospital had a P.A.S. PORT inserted. I find the P.A.S. PORT much more aesthetic than the PORT-A-CATH. Why do doctors seem to prefer the PORT-A-CATH to the P.A.S. PORT?
The PORT-A-CATH and the P.A.S. PORT are both a type of central catheter, such as the subclavian catheter and the PICC. Each one has an access chamber that is located under the skin, and each must be inserted surgically in an operating room.
When administering medication, a special needle must be used to pierce the skin and penetrate the chamber of the mechanism. Both these systems last longer than the subclavian catheter (7–14 days) and can in fact be used for many years. In our hospital, we are familiar with the PORT-A-CATH, but we don’t use the P.A.S. PORT (so I can’t speak from personal experience).
The main difference between the two systems is that the chamber of the PORT-A-CATH is located in the chest area whereas the P.A.S. PORT is inserted in the arm. In addition, the subcutaneous chamber of the P.A.S. PORT is smaller than that of the PORT-A-CATH. These two features are what make the P.A.S. PORT more esthetic.
However, the PORT-A-CATH is easier to use because it can be handled with both hands. Moreover, because the P.A.S. PORT uses a longer catheter than the PORT-A-CATH, there is a higher risk of catheter blockage, so the P.A.S. PORT may not last as long. This last fact explains why doctors prefer the PORT-A-CATH.