A Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, referred to as a PICC line is a useful tool in healthcare, especially for those patients requiring extended courses of intravenous treatment. PICC lines provide a way to received IV therapy for varying lengths of time from several days to several weeks or even months if needed. The PICC line allows a patient to receive their IV therapy in a rehab setting or a home care setting so that they are not required to stay in the hospital to complete treatment.

What is a PICC line?

The Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter is a long thin catheter made of polyurethane or silicone, inserted through the skin into a vein in the upper arm. The catheter is threaded through the vein until the tip is in the Superior Vena Cava, the large vein that carries blood directly to the heart. The insertion is typically done using ultrasound while the patient is conscious.

Typical Uses for PICC Lines

PICC lines are most often utilized for antibiotics whether for 1 week or many weeks. A small peripheral IV catheter would not last for more than a few days and could stop functioning. This results in the patient having to be stuck several times as well as missed medications. The PICC line prevents that and offers dependable access.

The Difference Between PICC Lines and Ports

PICC lines differ from ports in two essential ways: Dwell time and the method of insertion. PICC lines are not considered to be a permanent line. They are used for IV therapy ordered for weeks at a time and though they can be used for over a year, they are an excellent device for short to midterm IV therapy. Ports require an incision, are placed under the skin, and are designed to be permanent for months or years of use. Ports are appropriate for patients who will require chronic IV therapy over a prolonged period of time.

Other Uses for PICC Lines

PICC lines are also useful for patients who need hydration if unable to tolerate liquids orally, or for nutritional support for a few weeks to a few months or longer. Total parenteral nutrition, or TPN, is often administered through a PICC line. TPN can be utilized for extended periods of time making the need for a longer dwelling solution like a PICC line necessary. The need for dependable access that does not need to be permanent is the most beneficial reason to have a PICC line.

There are a variety of tools available for vascular access and it is important to utilize the the right one. The experts at AccessRN specialize in individual patient assessments and can recommend the most appropriate device for the patient and IV therapy ordered. The AccessRN specialists are available 7 days a week for vascular access services including insertion of PICC lines, Mid Lines, Extended Dwell Catheters, Peripheral IVs, line maintenance and trouble shooting. For more information call 1-866-900-1988 or visit www.accessrn.net