Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC Line)

A Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC Line) is a skinny tube inserted into a vein to access larger veins near your heart. This allows for the administration of prescription medications or liquid nitrogen.

PICC lines are particularly beneficial for people who regularly receive intravenous medication or injections. It limits the number of pinpricks you receive and decreases the irritation of the small veins in your arms.

A PICC line is safe and usually well-tolerated, but it does present the risk of infection and blood clots. As a result, you’ll need to visit I-Vascular Center regularly for check-ups and monitoring.

Why would I need a PICC line?

A PICC line makes it easy to deliver medications and other therapeutic treatments to the large veins near your heart. You might benefit from a PICC line if:

  • You’re undergoing cancer treatment
  • You need of parenteral (liquid) nutrition
  • You have a bacterial or fungal infection
  • You take prescription medication that irritates the small veins in your arms

A PICC line doesn’t just administer medication. Once placed, Dr. Gerges might also use it to draw blood, administer contrast material, or perform a blood transfusion.

How does PICC line placement work?

PICC line placement is a quick, outpatient procedure that usually takes less than an hour. On the day of your procedure, you change into a gown and lie down on an exam table. You’re awake during the entire process, but Dr. Gerges administers a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort throughout.

Once the anesthesia sets in, Dr. Gerges cleans the skin on your upper arm just above your elbow. Next, he uses ultrasound or X-ray imaging to guide a catheter through your elbow and into a central vein near your heart. Once positioned, he places a cap on the end and tapes it down to limit interference with your daily activities. 

What happens after PICC line placement?

Following PICC line placement, Dr. Gerges sends you home with a list of recovery instructions. In the first few days after your procedure, it’s normal to experience some tenderness and swelling.

Whenever you shower, it’s important to cover the PICC line and prevent it from getting wet. You should also inspect your arm daily, looking for any signs of infection. Make sure to attend all follow-up appointments, and if anything looks or feels out of the ordinary, call I-Vascular Center right away.


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