A PICC is a catheter that is made of soft, pliable material. It is inserted into your arm vein, usually just above the inner bend of your elbow, and then threaded up into a larger vein in your chest. A PICC allows you to receive medications that could cause damage if given through one of the smaller veins in your arms. A PICC may also be placed when you need to receive IV therapy for longer than a week.
How is the PICC placed?
The PICC line placement procedure will be performed by a Certified Interventionist / Radiologist, whom have been specially trained and certified to insert PICC lines.
The catheter will be inserted into a vein in your arm and then positioned so that the tip will be located in either your upper arm, chest, or in and area near your heart. A chest x-ray will be taken after the catheter is placed to confirm proper position. For the proper location of the catheter the procedure will be performed in Radiology Department, where fluoroscopy (x-ray) may be used. X-ray contrast material (x-ray dye) may also be injected through the catheter and x-rays, then taken. If x-ray contrast material is injected, you may experience a warm feeling or a strange taste in your mouth. Both of these sensations are temporary and will soon go away.
How long can my PICC stay in place?
Your PICC can remain in place for several weeks. In some cases, your infusion nurse will be changing the dressing on your arm at least weekly, and will observe for any complications at the site.
What type of care and maintenance does the PICC require?
The area around the insertion site should be kept as clean as possible to prevent infection. Always wash your hands with an antimicrobial scoap before handling the catheter or touching the area around the insertion site. Inspect the insertion site for signs of infection (redness, swelling, drainage or tenderness).
Your catheter will need to be flushed with saline and filled with a locking solution to prevent clots from forming in the lumen.
Do not allow to take your blood pressure in the arm with the catheter, as this could cause the catheter to become blocked or otherwise damaged.
Do not use scissors to remove the dressing, to avoid accidentally cutting the catheter.
What precautions should I take with my PICC?
The catheter site in your arm must be kept dry. You may bathe or shower as long as the site is protected with a water-resistant covering. No swimming, hot tubs and lifting weight. You will need to check your site every day for redness, swelling or pain.
What can I expect when my PICC is removed?
The PICC may be removed at your doctor’s office, in the ambulatory infusion suite, or at your home. The dressing will be removed and the catheter will be gently and slowly pulled out. PICC removal may be slightly uncomfortable but not very painful. After your PICC has been removed, a gauze dressing and an antibacterial ointment will be placed over the exit site. You may remove this dressing after 24 hours.
To help your PICC exit site heal:
Avoid heavy lifting or vigorous activities for 24 hours
Keep the exit site dry for 24 hours
- If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact our reception staff on 021-35292707.
This is for patients whose doctor has recommended that they have a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) placed. The reasons for placing a PICC line include the long-term administration of medications ordered by your physician. The placement of a PICC line will reduce the number of times that an IV catheter would need to be inserted. We will be asking you to read and sign a form so that we can be sure you understand the procedure and potential benefits, along with the associated potential, risks, alternatives, the likelihood of achieving the goals and the recuperative process. Please ask questions about anything on this from that you do not understand.
Placement of a PICC line involved that insertion of a thin, sterile, plastic tube, called a catheter, directly into a vein. The catheter will be inserted into a vein in your arm and then positioned so that the tip will be located in either your upper arm, chest, or in and area near your heart. A chest x-ray will be taken after the catheter is placed to confirm proper position. For the proper location of the catheter the procedure will be performed in Radiology Department, where fluoroscopy (x-ray) may be used to into proper position. X-ray contrast material (x-ray dye) may also be injected through the catheter and x-rays, then taken. If x-ray contrast material is injected, you may experience a warm feeling or a strange taste in your mouth. Both of these sensations are temporary and will soon go away.
The PICC line placement procedure will be performed by a Certified Interventionalist, whom have been specially trained and certified to insert PICC lines.
In general, the insertion of a PICC line is a safe procedure but there are some risks associated with it. These risks include those that are associated with the insertion and positioning of the catheter and those associated with the maintenance and use of the catheter. Associated with the insertion and positioning of the catheter are the risks of catheter malposition, pain or discomfort at the site of the catheter insertion, bleeding at the insertion site, injury to the vein, entrance of the air into the vein injury to an artery or nerve, and an irregular heartbeat. If x-ray contrast material is used duration the placement of the PICC line, there are the additional risks of an allergic reaction and reduced kidneys function. Risks associated with the maintenance and use of the catheter include an infection of the catheter which may result in an infection of the blood stream, inflammation of the vein (phlebitis), and the development of a blood clot in the vein (thrombosis). In addition to these potential risks, there may be other unpredictable risks.
Alternatives to the placement of a PICC line include the insertion of a central line in a neck (jugular), leg (femoral) or shoulder (subclavian) vein or continuing with peripheral IV access which requires the placement of a new line placed every 73 hours, if you are unsure about having a PICC lines placed, please discuss these possible alternatives with your doctor, including the possible risks, benefits and side effects associated with the, along with not undergoing any type of vascular access placement.
MBBS, FCPS, FVIR,
Fellowship in Diagnostic Radiology,
College of Physicians & Surgeons Pakistan,
Fellowship in Vascular Interventional Radiology
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Nasir / Salman
(+92)213 529 2707