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i-port® Injection Port Placement
At Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of using this device and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about the device and how you can help.
Fast Facts About the i-port® Injection Port
- The i-port injection port is an option for children who must receive daily injections of insulin to control their diabetes.
- It allows children with diabetes to receive only 1 needle stick every 3 days for their fast-acting insulin needs instead of 1 stick every time insulin is needed.
- Children who have an i-port will still need to take their long-acting insulin at a different injection site on the body.
- A nurse will help you or your child place the i-port for the first time during your child’s diabetes clinic appointment.
- The i-port will need to be changed every 3 days at home by a parent or by the child, if he or she is old enough.
- It can be worn while bathing, swimming, and exercising.
- The i-port is used only for the injection of Humalog® or Novolog® brand insulin.
What Is An i-port?
The i-port is a small plastic device that allows the delivery of insulin through the outer layers of the skin. The device is worn like a patch for up to 3 days (72 hours) and allows multiple injections of insulin with only 1 needle stick. It is often prescribed for children with diabetes who are afraid of shots or who are not complying with their diabetes management plan because they do not like needles.
How Does An i-port Work?
An i-port works like a funnel to get fast-acting insulin into your child’s body. The i-port has a small needle which is used to pierce the skin as it is applied. As the i-port needle goes into the skin, it leaves a tiny tube in the skin that stays in place with a sticky patch. The i-port needle is the same size as the needle used for insulin injections. Shots of fast-acting insulin then can be put directly into the i-port and the medication will go through the tube into the skin, but your child will not feel the needle stick. So instead of getting a needle stick every time fast-acting insulin is given, your child will only have 1 needle stick every 3 days, no matter how many shots of fast-acting insulin are needed. Note: Your child will still have to take his or her daily long-acting insulin injections at another site on the body; long-acting insulin shots cannot be given through the i-port.
No special preparation is needed before your child’s i-port is placed. A nurse will show you how to clean the skin and place the i-port, and will watch as you or your child applies the i-port for the first time.
Parts of the i-port
The i-port consists of several parts:
- the insertion needle
- the plastic button that stays in place on the skin and has the tiny opening or “port” where insulin is injected
- the sticky patch that holds the button on the skin
- the soft cannula (tube) that delivers the insulin under the skin
- the needle guard that protects the needle in the packaging.
After the i-port is applied, the insertion needle and needle guard can be thrown away in an approved sharps container. Each i-port comes in an individually wrapped package in boxes of 10.
Applying the i-port
To apply the i-port, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Determine where you or your child will place the i-port. The best places to put the i-port are areas that have some fatty tissue, such as on the belly and on the sides of the lower back above the buttocks.
- Clean the site where the i-port will be placed with alcohol. Allow the area to dry.
- Have your child stand up or sit in a chair if he or she is applying it; have your child lie down or stand up, whichever is easiest for you, if you are applying it for your child.
- Remove the i-port from the packaging.
- Peel the protective backing from the sticky pad.
- Take off the needle guard but do not touch the needle with your fingers.
- Pinch a large fold of skin and insert the needle and cannula into the skin with a quick, non-stop motion. You can also hold the i-port between your index and middle fingers and use a flat, slapping motion into the fold of skin.
- Press the i-port firmly against the skin to ensure that the needle and cannula are fully inserted through the skin and seal the edges of the sticky patch.
- Hold the i-port button firmly in place and remove the insertion needle. Throw it away.
- The first time you use a newly-placed i-port, you must add ½ of a unit of insulin to fill the cannula. Using your syringe or insulin pen, locate the tiny port in the middle of the plastic button and inject medication directly into the delivery channel. DO NOT use a needle longer than 5/16 inch or 8 mm.
- After that, use the proper dosage when you need an insulin injection.
- Clean the port with an alcohol swab before each insulin injection.
- You can do all of your your daily activities with the i-port in place. It can even be worn in the shower or bath, when playing sports or exercising, and when swimming.
Removing the i-port
To take the i-port off, pinch an outer edge of the sticky patch and pull in one direction until it comes off.
- Reapply a new i-port after 72 hours. Do not use the same i-port for longer than 3 days.
- Pick a different site to apply the new i-port.
- Do not try to re-use a used i-port. Used i-ports must be thrown away.
Special Tips For Using the i-port
Check your i-port before you inject your insulin to make sure it is clean. You may have to remove the i-port and apply a new one if:
- You experience irritation, soreness, or swelling at the site of the i-port placement
- The i-port’s soft cannula becomes crimped or bent when applied or while being worn. Signs of a crimped or bent cannula include:
- Difficulty pushing down the plunger on your syringe when injecting
- Medication squirting from the pen upon removal from the i-port
- Medication leaking through the i-port or onto the skin around the sticky patch
- Liquid or moisture within the clear body of the plastic button
- Unexplained high blood sugars after an injection
If you experience any of these signs, you may need to remove your i-port, test your blood sugar, and take the necessary steps to lower your blood sugar before you apply a new i-port.
A Parent’s/Guardian’s Role in Placing the i-port
The most important role of a parent or guardian when first placing the i-port is to help your child stay calm and relaxed. The best way to help your child stay calm is for you to stay calm.
• You may stay with your child as he or she learns how to place the i-port.
• You may bring a “comfort” item — such as a “blankie” or stuffed animal — for your child to hold while you place the i-port.
• Feel free to ask any questions of your diabetic education nurse.
After the Placement of the i-port
Your child may resume normal activities immediately.
Medical Insurance Coverage
Some types of insurance will cover the full cost of the i-port injection ports for your child; most will cover at least 80 percent of the cost. The i-ports are supplied by Edgepark medical supplies, a leading supplier of diabetes management products.
Special Needs and Questions
If you have any questions, or if your child has any special needs you feel the endocrinology department needs to know about, please call the diabetic educator at Children’s Hospital before your child’s clinic appointment.
Division of Pediatric Endocrinology
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
One Children's Hospital Drive
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
September 10, 2010
September 10, 2010