Glossary Entry: Implantable Port


Definition: An implantable port is a medical device used to provide long-term access to the bloodstream for the administration of medications, fluids, or blood products, as well as for the withdrawal of blood samples. It consists of a small reservoir and a catheter that is surgically implanted beneath the skin, typically in the chest or arm.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: Implantable ports come in various sizes and models, with some designed specifically for pediatric use. The specific model chosen depends on the patient’s age, size, and medical needs.


Common Uses: Implantable ports are commonly used in patients undergoing long-term chemotherapy, antibiotic therapy, or parenteral nutrition. They provide a reliable and convenient way to administer medications and fluids without the need for repeated needle sticks.

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: Implanting an implantable port involves making a small incision to create a subcutaneous pocket for the reservoir and tunneling the catheter to a large vein. Careful attention to sterile technique and proper placement is essential to prevent complications such as infection or catheter malfunction.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with implantable ports include infection, thrombosis, catheter malposition, and leakage. Regular monitoring and prompt identification of these complications are crucial for patient safety.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Implantable ports require regular flushing with saline or heparin solution to prevent the catheter from becoming blocked. The site should be inspected for signs of infection or malfunction at each use.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: Access needles and syringes are often used in conjunction with implantable ports for accessing the reservoir and administering medications or fluids.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent advancements in implantable port technology include the use of antimicrobial-impregnated materials to reduce infection risk and the development of smaller, low-profile designs for improved patient comfort.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: Implantable ports are regulated medical devices that must meet strict safety and performance standards set forth by regulatory bodies such as the FDA. Healthcare providers are responsible for ensuring that implantable ports are used in accordance with these regulations to ensure patient safety.