Purpose: Vein port systems are often used for infusion therapy. Safe access of these devices is necessary to ensure optimal device performance and the minimization of possible complications. We assessed the utility of YouTube for learning vein port access technique.

Materials and methods: The YouTube video database was searched for video files demonstrating vein port access technique. A scoring tool was developed to acquire objective data about the adherence of the operator to accepted access technique.

Results: Fifty-one YouTube videos were assessed for their value for learning vein port access technique. Using a scoring tool with a maximum score of 36, the scores for the 51 videos ranged from 7 to 32 (mean score =18.7). The best scores were for videos recorded as instructional videos by nurses and patients, with scores ranging from 17 to 32 (mean score =24.0).

Conclusions: There was considerable variability in the utility and value of the videos reviewed. Some videos were very informative and instructional, some were very uninformative, and some conveyed incorrect information that could lead to device failure and undue complications related to inappropriate port access technique. Health care providers, patients, and other caregivers should be very skeptical of the value of YouTube videos demonstrating medical techniques and should only accept the information provided if it is from a reputable source, which can often be very difficult to ascertain.

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