Sunday, July 21, 2024

What Is a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter?

flushing picc line

A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) is a type of long catheter that is inserted through a peripheral vein, often in the arm, into a larger vein in the body. A PICC may be used when intravenous (IV) treatment is required over a long period of time, or when multiple IV treatments are needed.

How Is a PICC Placed?

A PICC is placed by an interventional radiologist or a specially trained nurse. The procedure is performed using fluoroscopic guidance (a live x-ray). Once the catheter is in place, it is secured with sutures and covered with a sterile dressing. The dressing will need to be changed every 7 days, or as directed by your healthcare team. 

What Are the Benefits of a PICC?

There are many benefits to having a PICC, including: 

  • Reduced risk of infection: PICCs are inserted using sterile techniques and are less likely to cause infection than other types of IV catheters. 
  • Fewer needle sticks: Because PICCs can stay in place for weeks or months, you will have fewer needle sticks than if you had a traditional IV catheter. 
  • Increased comfort: PICCs are inserted through a large vein, so they cause less discomfort than other types of IV catheters. 
  • Greater flexibility: PICCs can be used for many different types of IV therapies, including antibiotics, chemotherapy, and pain medication. 

What Are the Risks of Having a PICC?

As with any medical procedure, there are some risks associated with having a PICC placed. These risks include: 

  • Bleeding 
  • Infection 
  • Blood clots 
  • Phlebitis (inflammation of the vein) 
  • Injury to the nerves or blood vessels 
  • Allergic reaction to the contrast dye used during the procedure 

 However, these risks are rare and your healthcare team will take every precaution to minimize them.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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