About Cystic Fibrosis

What is a Port-a-cath?

A Port-a-cath is a small medical device inserted beneath the skin. The port is connected to the vein with a use of a catheter. It has a septum where blood samples can be drawn and through which medications can be administered. For cystic fibrosis patients having a port-a-cath means medical personnel can have constant access to the person’s veins to draw blood or to administer antibiotics.


Port-a-cath is a term derived from "portal" and "catheter". Normal catheters are usually implanted in cystic fibrosis patients when they need IV antibiotic therapy. The problem with regular catheter is that they need to be removed when the patient leaves the hospital. A port-a-cath is inserted only once and stays permanently on the patient. In the medical field, these catheters are usually called a central venous access device.

The Mechanism

The device consists of a portal which is the reservoir compartment. It also has a silicone bubble or a septum which is used for inserting the needle. The Port-a-cath is installed in the arm or in the upper chest and would usually form a bump-like appearance on the skin. Because the device is totally internal, there are no restrictions to activities like bathing and swimming.

From the portal, there is a catheter which is surgically inserted into a vein. The other end of the catheter ends right above the right atrium of the heart. This kind of positioning allows the instilled agents to be diffused effectively throughout the body.

The Uses

Port-a-cath can be used in a number of ways with cystic fibrosis patients. Here is what a Port-a-cath does for the body:

Understanding the Risks

Understanding the risks of a Port-a-cath insertion is essential to knowing what the device really is. Let us learn some of the most common risks listed below:

Disclaimer: This website provides general information about cystic fibrosis and in no means should be taken as a medical or health advice. Please consult your doctor before acting on any of its information.