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PICC Placement

A PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) placement is a procedure in which a long, thin tube is inserted through a vein in the arm and passed through to the larger veins near the heart. The PICC line allows for repeated access to the patient's bloodstream, making it easier to administer medications, fluids, or draw blood samples.

The PICC placement procedure typically takes around 30-45 minutes to complete and is usually done under local anesthesia in a sterile field, using ultrasound and can happen at the bedside.


Patients may feel some discomfort during and after the procedure, but this can usually be managed with pain medication.

Some common medical conditions that may require a PICC placement include:

  • Cancer: Patients undergoing chemotherapy may require a PICC line to facilitate the administration of these drugs and reduce the need for repeated needle sticks. Usually a PORT is used with cancers.

  • Long-term IV therapy: Patients with chronic infections, gastrointestinal disorders, or other conditions requiring long-term IV therapy.

  • Nutritional support: Patients who are unable to take food or fluids orally may require a PICC line to receive parenteral nutrition, which is delivered directly into the bloodstream.

Possible Complications:

Overall, port placement is considered a safe and effective procedure with relatively low risks of complications. Patients who undergo port placement should be closely monitored for any signs of infection, bleeding, or other complications, and the port should be regularly flushed.

PICC Line Care Instructions

To ensure proper care and maintenance of your PICC line, please follow these instructions:

  1. Keep the PICC site clean and dry. Avoid getting the dressing wet during bathing or showering. If the dressing becomes wet, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

  2. Do not touch or pull on the PICC line. Avoid lifting anything heavy with the arm where the PICC line is located. No greater than 10lbs.  No repetitive movement such as weight lifting.

  3. No Swimming.

  4. Change the dressing as directed by your healthcare provider. Usually every 7 days or when it has been compromised.

  5. Flush the PICC line with saline solution as directed by your healthcare provider. Usually every 24 hours or after use.

  6. Monitor the PICC line site for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

  7. Do not remove the PICC line yourself.

  8. Never push the PICC back in if it came out a bit.

Having a PICC line insertion Design Science

Dana-Farber PICC Instructions Handout

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