This special intravenous line can be chosen to access a vein for chemotherapy and blood samples

About a PICC

The PICC line is an intravenous catheter generally measuring 40 - 60 cm. It is a small flexile tube or "straw" through which the fluids or medications flow. It can prevent the irritation and injury often associated with administration of certain chemotherapy drugs.

Once inserted, the PICC line is kept in place (not removed) thus, eliminating the need to have an intravenous started for each blood sample and chemotherapy treatment. The PICC, therefore provides the easiest method of treatment for chemotherapy drugs which are classified as vesicants.

The Procedure:

There is no special preparation before your PICC insertion. You can eat and drink normally. It can help to have some extra fluids in the morning.

The IV RN will use ultrasound to examine your veins and choose the one most suitable for insertion.

A freezing agent called Lidocaine is injected under the skin to freeze the area. A slight pinch or burning may be felt during this injectio0n.

Once the catheter is inserted you will have a chest x-ray done to confirm the placement of the catheter.

The entire procedure will take 1-2 hours.

Who Does It

The PICC line is inserted by an R.N. - I. V. Therapist specially trained in this skill. When considering the insertion of a PICC line, the physician, a member of the I.V. Team or Chemotherapy nurse will discuss with you the procedure, its advantages and answer any questions you may have. We require an order from the physician and from you, a written consent.

Care At Home

A PICC line can be managed by the IV team nurse, the nurse administering your chemotherapy or a Home Agency nurse in the community. Dressings are changed 24 hours after initial insertion then once a week or more often if the dressing loosens. If the PICC line is not in use it is flushed once a week with 10 mls. of saline solution.

The PICC line dressing CAN NOT be wet. The site can be wrapped in plastic in order to shower but soaking in the bathtub or swimming is restricted.

For further information call:
Brant Community Cancer Clinic

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