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Avoid the Needles With a PICC Line

A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) is a long, thin tube used to access large veins near the heart without the need to puncture a vein each time medications must be delivered. 

The PICC line catheter is inserted in a vein located in your arm and passed through larger veins next to your heart. A PICC line is usually used for patients who require access to the veins next to the heart for only weeks at a time, whereas a port is used to deliver fluids for years at a time.

From our experts at i-Vascular Center, here’s everything you need to know about a PICC line. 

Preparing for a PICC line insertion

Before our specialists insert the catheter into your arm, they may recommend you get certain blood tests and imaging tests. 

Our specialists will test your blood for platelets. A low platelet count may indicate an increased risk for bleeding. If your platelet count is low, our specialists may give you either medications or a blood transfusion.

Imaging tests will help our specialists guide the long, flexible tube though your veins and plan out the procedure. 

How we place the PICC line into your veins 

This outpatient procedure takes about an hour to complete. During the insertion, you’re asked to relax and lie down while a medical specialist examines your veins to make sure they’re resilient enough to be able to carry a PICC line. 

Once our specialists determine which vein works best for your PICC line placement, they make a small incision on your vein and place the catheter inside. Then they carefully guide the tube through the veins of your arms and all the way through the veins near your heart. They may use imaging techniques to verify the placement of the PICC line. 

PICC line aftercare 

After the PICC line is in place, there are a few steps you need to take to prevent infections, including the following:

Caring for your PICC line is crucial for preventing complications such as blood clots, infections, bleeding, and blockages in your veins. 

Learn more about PICC lines 

If you’ve been recommended to get a PICC line as part of your treatment, contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our offices in El Paso and San Antonio, Texas. 

Our specialists at i-Vascular Center have extensive experience placing PICC lines, and they’re more than happy to answer all of your questions about getting vascular access. 

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