Why do I need a PICC line?
Through it you can get fluids to hydrate you and give you nutrition, blood transfusion and medicines, like chemotherapy or antibiotics. A PICC line can be used to get blood test without another needle stick. It can be cared for at home and can stay in place for many weeks or months, if needed.
What will happen?
You will be brought the Interventional Radiology Suite where the radiologist and radiographer will explain the procedure and answer your questions. The study usually takes about 60-90 minutes. After completion, you will be monitored for 1 hour for possible complications..
Do I need any blood results?
In some cases we may need to give you contrast (X-ray dye), so you should discuss any allergy history (particularly to Iodine) with the radiologist prior to booking a procedure.
The PICC line placement
No sedation is usually required. Under ultrasound guidance and local anesthetic, a tiny incision will be made in your arm and a small soft tube (catheter) will be introduced into the vein. Using X-rays, it will be positioned in the desired place above your heart. The line will be secured by stitches and the insertion site will be covered by sterile bandage.
Does it hurt?
You will feel a bee sting when the doctor numbs the entry site. Most patients feel little or no discomfort during the procedure.
What are the risks?
The possibility of bleeding or damage of your vein is minimized by the used of ultrasound guidance. Irregular heartbeat, meaning that the tube was put too far into the heart, is avoided by the X-ray guidance. However the catheter can move out of the best position if you cough, move a lot or have severe vomiting. In this case it may need to be removed or repositioned.
Very rarely, a piece of catheter may break off and travel into the bloodstream. The line can get clotted, but this can usually be cleared.
The risk of infection is very low.
When will I get my results?
The radiologist will be able to talk to you after the procedure.
When will I resume my normal activities?
In most cases, you will be able to get back to your normal activity the next day. You should avoid any extensive physical activities and particularly it is advisable not to lift