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I guess my question is how do you know that they are not used as much in the United Kingdom compared the United States?
My inititial guess would be that there may be a difference in the types of chemotherapy/treatment regimes, could be cost issue/access to care issue since there is socialized medicine, could be some type of legal restriction, who knows. Here in the US implanted ports are mainly inserted by interventional radiology, I have heard second hand that there are issues of access concerning specialty departments such as IR. In the US at least, I know that the insertion of PICC lines has fallen mainly to nurses which relieved pressure off of the IR physicians so that they can perform other operations.
I think the first thing to locate are some statistics on the use of implanted ports between the countries.
I work in the UK in Oncology/Haematology Nursing - I am a clinical trials nurse specialist - In answer to your query - we do use porta caths - although less than the United States. This is for several reasons.
1. We are run by a National Health Service and the time demand for theatres is extreme.
2. Portacaths are invasive and many patients do not wish to have them inserted for their treatment. Many of our chemotherapy regimes are the same or similar to the USA - consisting of say - 6 cycles of chemo every 3 or 4 weeks dependent highly on the type of cancer being treated.
3. We can, through careful cannulation technique, maintain vein patency and patient welfare and administer Chemo through a normal IV.
4. We do use portacaths where patients are known to require numerous courses of treatment over a great time period - typically in our haematology patients and our younger patient population who will be having treatment for years and whose veins and level of activity we are keen to maintain for many many years to come.
5. We do use long lines - or picc lines inserted by our specialist nurses for those patients with access issues. We also use Hickman lines where necessary.