Reply To: Vortex Ports

July 8, 2012 at 3:36 am

A typical implanted port is meant for infusions, not for plasmapheresis or dialysis. The reason relates to blood flow rates. A very fast infusion is done at about 8 ml/min. Plasmapheresis flow rates are more like 80 ml/min and dialysis flows more like 400 ml/min. High flow through a narrow needle leads to destruction of red blood cells, so there is a minimum size for a plasmapheresis needle. The Vortex port mentioned above is supposed to be accessed with a 19 to 22 gauge needle. A normal plasmaphersis needle is at least 18 gauge and often larger. So I think this port is meant for an infusion. That said, I could find nothing in the literature that specifically limits the flow rate, only that the internal pressure cannot exceed 40 psig. The calculation to convert the pressure to a flow rate is not straightforward, so I cannot say the Vortex port won’t work. Presumably these ports have worked for other dialysis and plasmapheresis patients, otherwise the nurse would have have suggested it. Still, if you get your plasmapheresis in an infusion clinic, I would check with a doctor with lots of experience with plasmapheresis.

Godspeed in finding a good solution