Cost

The external catheter requires supplies for cleaning, dressing, and irrigating the line, but the subcutaneous port does not. The port itself, however, is usually more costly than the external catheter. Both generally require operating room time and the services of a surgeon and an anesthesiologist. The port also requires these services for its eventual removal; the external catheter is removed in the clinic with only intravenous sedation. A good rule of thumb to consider is that, if the lines stay in place at least six months, the overall costs will be almost equal.

Most insurance plans will cover the placement of any central venous catheter and the services of the surgeon, anesthesiologist, and operating room facility. Many plans, however, will not cover the cost of the supplies to maintain the line, and this can be an additional financial hardship for families. You may want to consider this when making the final decision about the type of catheter that is best for your child.

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