EXPOSURE SAFETY: Tips for using implanted ports safely

August 2006 
Volume 36  Number 8
Pages 66 - 67
  PDF Version Available!



FOR A PATIENT NEEDING long-term intermittent infusion therapy, an implanted port can provide reliable vascular access with a low risk of infection (less than one infectious episode per 1,000 catheter days) without altering her physical appearance as much as other devices. But for the nurse accessing it, an implanted port poses a risk of accidental needle-stick injury. In this article, I'll explain the risks, then tell you how you can avoid a dangerous needle-stick injury.

What are the risks? * Rebound injury. The implanted port has a dense septum made of silicone. You must access the port reservoir with a noncoring needle, piercing both the skin and the port's septum. (A noncoring needle is one that doesn't leave a hole in the port or tear the port.) The septum then grips the needle tightly, preventing accidental dislodgment. But when you remove the needle, it can rebound suddenly as you pull it free from this firm grip, and can easily stick the ...

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