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Heparin FREE port-a-cath?

We have a patient who has a Bard Power Port implanted a few months ago for blood product transfusion. She is a pharmacist. When our infusion nurses was about to heparinize the port she insisted that the port was a "special power port" that did not need to be heparinized. Is it really?

Is this a port with an

Is this a port with an integral valve built into the catheter such as Groshong? If so, heparin could be omitted although heparin use is not contraindicated with these valved catheters and some still prefer to use heparin in them. If this is a port without any type of integral valve, you might be able to omit the heparin lock while it is accessed and you are using a brand of needleless connector that has saline-only instructions. There are several studies now that show the saline-only locking does not produce good outcomes and there can be a high rate of lumen occlusion. But even with this type of needleless connector, I would still prefer to have heparin lock solution when the port is deaccessed. Does this patient have some known reaction to heparin? The power injectable port indicates that it is polyurethane, so I would check with Bard before locking with ethanol or any combination of citrate and ethanol as there could be some changes to the structure of the catheter material when in contact with ethanol for extended periods. There are no alternative locking solutions currently on the US market to substitute for heparin lock solution. All alternative solutions must come from a compounding pharmacy. Lynn

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RN, BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway Associates, Inc.

126 Main Street, PO Box 10

Milner, GA 30257


Office Phone 770-358-7861

Pt.'s should have product information with them -

that, and the procedural insertion record, are what you should be using to make that determination.  Yes, Bard does make a power-injectable power port with a groshong tip. 

For any device used with a patient, we are all responsible to know the instructions for use.  If you don't know - do what you did, and can also get very helpful information (posters, printable instructions for use, etc.) from any vendor about their products. 

Mari Cordes, BS RNIII VA-BC
Vascular Access Department
University of Vermont Medical Center

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