Monday, March 17, 2008

Ports & Fevers

I am hoping you all are aware of the following information. If your child has a central line (port-a-cath, hickman, PICC) and they are running a fever...some lab work should be done. My son has had a port now for over 7 years and this still is something I deal with. He was running a 103 fever yesterday afternoon, and just because his sister had one too, I questioned wether or not I should have the blood culture and CBC done. After contacting the HTC they assured me that the tests should be done. Better safe than sorry was their encouragement. So I went ahead and got the lab work completed. And as I had hoped his white blood cell count was normal.

But there was a time when I did not know to have a culture done when he had a fever. When his port was first placed at 8 months of age, I was very uneducated about how to care for it. All I knew was that it needed to be flushed once per month if we did not use it. I did not know about much else. A couple of months later he did get a 104 fever, but the next day it was gone so I didn't think much of it. It happened again a couple weeks later. But again left so quickly that I thought he was fine. About a week after the third time he had a high fever one day and gone the next, I happened to be chatting with the HTC nurse. It was regarding another matter but I mentioned the mysterious fever and that it was the third time it had happened. She asked me what the cultures said...And I said "cultures? I didn't know anything about that." She was very insistant that I take him immediately in for blood cultures and a CBC. Sure enough it was an infection in his port. He was hospitized until the daily cultures turned negative.

Infection in a central line is definately something you don't want to mess around with. So any sign of a fever it is a good idea to notify your HTC so you can receive instruction as to what your doctor would like to have done. Even if you think it is nothing, a cold or ear infection it is always better to be safe than sorry!

Have a blessed day!