What is a PICC-line?
The Definition of a PICC-line
A PICC line is a shortened term for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter. It is used as a form of access to the body. Usually, the line is used for long-term antibiotic therapy in the case of cystic fibrosis and for delivering total parenteral nutrition in the body.
The PICC line is typically used as a replacement for internal jugular, subclavian, and femoral lines which have a notable rate of infection. The catheter is inserted via the distant veins such as the ones found in the cephalic, brachial, and basilic parts of the body. The tip is advanced further so it can reach the large veins and the heart.
The Insertion of a PICC-line
The insertion is typically done by a radiologist, licensed nurses, and physicians. There are 8 steps to follow in the insertion of this catheter. Here are those steps:
- The length of the PICC-line should be the same as the measurement from the crook of the elbow to the heart.
- A trained medical professional prepares the site where the catheter is to be inserted. The process has to be performed in a strictly sterile manner.
- Local anesthetics may be given to soothe the site.
- A small needle will be inserted into a peripheral vein.
- A wire is placed inside the needle and a special tube is placed over the wire.
- The threading process stops once the right length has been fully inserted to the access site.
- About 3-5ml of normal saline is flushed into the site to determine proper placement.
- A chest x-ray is usually performed to confirm catheter placement.
The catheter is actually inserted for various purposes. Here are some of the instances which necessitate placement of the line:
- To avoid needle sticks for further blood tests.
- To continue therapy at home.
- To receive strong fluids or medications.
- To lessen the discomfort felt in IV changes.
A PICC-line offers several benefits.
- Long term venous access. Unlike the other sites, the PICC-line can be kept for a longer period of time.
- There is a lower risk of acquiring infection through this catheter.
- There is decreased skin puncture for blood testing.
- Early patient discharge can be possible through this peripheral access.
- Versatility is greatly achieved through the use of these lines. They can be used for antibiotics administration, intravenous fluids, anti-cancer drugs, and certain nutrients.
Observing Care with a PICC-line
Usually, the patients in the hospital are frequently checked for infection and other problems that can result from catheter insertion.
The line is sometimes secured to the skin through stitches. It is also covered with sterile dressing to deter infection.
The PICC-line can only be removed by the authorized health professionals. Only those who have the proper certifications can insert and remove such lines.
Disclaimer: This website provides general information about cystic fibrosis and in no means should be taken as a medical or health advice. Please consult your doctor before acting on any of its information.