A PICC line, or Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, is a length of thin, soft plastic tubing that functions as a long-term IV line, allowing medical professionals a simple, pain-free way to draw blood or give medications or nutrients as needed. There are several other types of central venous access catheters available, including tunneled catheters, dialysis catheters and implantable ports.

What to Expect?

You will be taken to our interventional suite, where our nurse will take measurements of the distance from your arm to your chest to determine the catheter needed for the procedure. An ultrasound may be performed to give additional guidance information. Then, your arm will be cleaned and a sterile cloth will be draped over the area to prevent infection. A tourniquet will be placed on your arm, and then you will receive medication to numb the area. A small needle will then be inserted into the vein, through which the PICC line will be guided into place. Sutures may be placed to hold the PICC line in the proper location. X-ray guidance may be used during or after the procedure to ensure proper placement of the line. Inserting the PICC line takes 1 – 1 ½ hours, and most patients experience little or no discomfort. A referral to a home health agency will be made for follow-up regarding care of the line.

Patient Preparation

You may be asked to discontinue the use of aspirin, Coumadin, Plavix, or other anticoagulants before the study.