What is a PICC Line?
We may find ourselves in need of a PICC line but what exactly is a PICC line? The Rollin’ RN is here to clear up any questions in a short, educational article. I will explain what is a PICC line, why we need PICC lines, any precautions while having a PICC line, and what happens when we are done with a PICC line.
What is a PICC line? A Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) line is a soft, flexible catheter that is inserted into a vein in the upper arm.
Why use a PICC line? A PICC line is inserted to administer fluids and meds, such as antibiotics, long-term and to withdraw blood for labs. Having a PICC line inserted means fewer IV sticks for fluids or labs. One line can have two or three ports or lumens, depending on the reason for insertion.
How long will I need a PICC line? A PICC line will remain for the duration of your treatment, which may be weeks or months.
Insertion of a PICC line: You may hear the term “PICC Line Team” to insert your line. A PICC line team may consist of a doctor or nurse and usually another nurse to assist. A team of two. The procedure may take 30-45 minutes to complete. The insertion area will be numbed and an ultrasound machine will be used to verify the placement of the line, which is a very narrow catheter. The soft, flexible catheter will be inserted and then guided through the vein into the correct position. Once verified the line is in the correct place then a dressing will be placed over the site and the dressing will be replaced every week or so by a trained nurse.
Showering can be done by placing a protective covering over the site and gently removing the protective covering when done.
Avoid submerging the site in bathtubs or pools
Discuss strenuous activities that may be permitted with your healthcare provider.
Avoid tight-fitting clothes over the site
Avoid blood pressures or blood draws in the arm of the PICC line
Check the site daily for signs of infection. If redness or warmth is noted, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Removal: Once you are done with all treatments involving the PICC line, your healthcare provider or nurse will remove the line.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE LINE YOURSELF.
It’s all good, so keep on rollin’.
Patty, BSN, RN
The Rollin’ RN ™
And, PS, I am sharing this topic due to my own knowledge and experience because I had a PICC line last year due to sepsis and the need for antibiotic therapy for 6 weeks.