I was wondering if anyone had any pointers for accessing a port that is not defined well through the skin. I have a patient with a port that is hard to see. It is a power port and I can not feel the bumps. It always takes me two attempts and I feel terribly. I have gotten mixed messages on whether she should be sitting up or laying down. Any tips? Has anyone else ever missed a port?

Thanks, all.


1,049 Posts

Specializes in Vascular Access. Has 32 years experience.

I find that having a patient in a sitting position, with her shoulders slightly forward, but head turned away, works best in the case you described, especially if they are FLUFFY on their chest. Always palpate the perimeter of the port body prior to accessing and if needed, have someone stabilze the port itself, while you insert the non-coring needle.


24 Posts

Specializes in Neurology. Has 3 years experience.

Thank you so much for your advice. :)

iluvivt, BSN, RN

2,773 Posts

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

Have the patient in several different positions to see which one allows you to feel the perimeter of the port body. I personally do best with the patient flat. I check the port to make sure it is not wobbly so I know if I need to stabilize before access. You must take your time in assessing and palpating it because you can damage the attached catheter if you are not careful. One trick I use is to feel for where the catheter is attached to the port body and then I know where the portal chamber is. I use this technique if I am really struggling to feel it but you can try it to increase your success. Look at a pic of Bards power port so you can see what I am talking about.