Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) Line

A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) is an intravenous line that is left in place long-term to deliver fluids and medication. It has a lower rate of infection and other complications in comparison with other types of intravenous catheters, such as the subclavian vein catheter.
In placing the peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC), it must be confirmed that the catheter is placed in the central vein. Once placed, the date and time when the catheter is inserted must be recorded. The insertion site must not have any signs of infection. If any complications are suspected, the catheter must be removed immediately. Furthermore, when there is no medical need for the peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC), it should be removed right away.

  • Patients who require intravenous fluids and medication long-term.
  • Patients who have problems with their veins, such as phlebitis (inflammation), or have veins that are difficult to access.
  • Patients with chronic disease who require long-term total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
  • Patients undergoing chemotherapy.
  • The peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) is easy to care for at home and can be left in place for weeks or months, as needed.
  • It has a lower risk of infection than other intravenous lines.
  • It can be used for fluid, nutrition, blood, and medication, such as chemotherapy drugs and antibiotics.
  • It can be used to draw blood so the patient does not need to be stuck with additional needles.
  • It reduces irritation or danger to the veins if multiple blood draws are required or if fluids or medication need to be administered intravenously.
  • Inflammation of the vein or thrombosis, requiring blood thinners to treat (the clot).
  • Infection in the blood will require immediate removal of the line and administration of antibiotics.
  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) moves or falls out (which can happen with excessive coughing) and may need to be removed and/or reinserted.
  • Part(s) of the line comes loose and enters the circulatory system.
  • Normal intravenous line, which must be moved every 3-4 days. This line is usually placed in the arm or hand.
  •  A central line may be placed elsewhere, such as the neck, chest, or groin, but can only remain in place for about 2 weeks and will require a hospital stay.
  •  An implantable port (port-a-cath) may be placed under the skin and can remain in place for years, if needed. The port is placed in the operating room.

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