PICC Lines – Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter
An easy way to describe a PICC line is that it is a small, flexible tube that is usually inserted into the upper arm area. This is done for some patients who require frequent intravenous medications or fluids. Not all patients require this procedure. But, for those who are undergoing chemotherapy, prolonged IV antibiotic treatment or therapies, this is a less invasive alternative. The tube can last several weeks to months, which means fewer needle pokes and less pain. The PICC line can be capped off when not in use. But, when it is time to administer medications again, they can be connected to the tube and then disconnected again.
- Frequent Hospitalizations
- Difficulty getting IV access
- Long term antibiotic administration
- Parenteral Nutrition
At Parkway Medical Center, our nursing staff will assist in teaching patients about the care for their PICC line, and is available to answer any questions. In addition, Home Health nurses will also be available to change the dressing placed over the line if you are discharged with the PICC line in place. As it is very important to prevent an infection, cleanliness is imperative. Your nurse will show you how to keep your supplies sterile and talk to you about flushing the line and the importance of alleviating the possibility of bacteria entering the line and the cap. Hand washing before handling the line is a must. Flushing the line is important to make sure fluids flow easily. For more information about infusion therapies, click here to learn about the Wound Care and Infusion Center at Parkway Medical Center.
PICC Line Care
It is important that no strenuous activity or heavy lifting occur for 48 hours after the PICC line is placed. Remember, never use scissors to remove tape or dressings from around the line. You will want to have the line taped to your arm to prevent it from snagging on objects. When showing you will want to have the area covered with plastic so it is protected from getting wet. A good solution for this is to use a waterproof cast cover. Swimming or submersion in water is not allowed. You will need to avoid contact sports. You don’t want the line to become damaged or for it to move. In addition, you’ll want to avoid having dental work done while the PICC line is in place because any bacteria that may be released into the bloodstream during dental procedures could become attached on to the end of the line. If you require any dental work, please speak with your dentist at least five days prior to the scheduled dental work. If you develop any leaking from the line, fever or chills, or soreness, redness, or swelling at the insertion site, please contact your physician immediately.
If you have any questions regarding the use of PICC lines, please contact us at 256.301.3468. If you are seeking a physician for assistance, please contact our Physician Referral Line at 256.301.4388.