WHAT IS A PICC LINE?
A PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) is an in-dwelling intravenous catheter which is intended for long term use. It is soft and flexible and normally has several lumens. It is tunnelled for a distance under the skin on the arm and inserted in a vein above the elbow and advanced to the largest vein in the body, adjacent to the heart.
WHEN ARE THEY USED?
PICC lines are used for long term access into the venous system. Intravenous medications such as chemotherapy, antibiotics and intravenous nutrition can be administered through a PICC line. They provide long term access to the patient’s venous system and reduce the need for constant needles and cannulas.
HOW ARE THEY INSERTED (CATHETER INSERTION)?
Prior to the procedure, the patient is given local anaesthetic.
I insert PICC lines utilising image guidance. The venous puncture is guided with an ultrasound machine. The catheter is then tunnelled and inserted into the venous system under X-ray guidance. The tip of the catheter requires to be precisely placed in the vascular system and this is confirmed with an angiogram. An adhesive device and dressing secure the line in place.