PICC Lines

A Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) is a form of intravenous access that can be used for prolonged periods of time. Using an ultrasound location device and maximum barrier precautions, the catheter is inserted in the basilic, brachial, or cephalic vein in the upper arm and advanced toward the heart with the tip resting in the distal superior vena cava or cavoatrial junction. Tip location is confirmed via standard chest X-ray.

PICCs vary in length from 35 – 60 cm and are usually made of flexible polyurethane. They may have one, two, or even three lumens for multiple simultaneous infusions, if necessary.

PICCs are often indicated for:
  • Long-term antibiotic therapy
  • Total parenteral nutrition
  • Hyperosmolar, vesicant or irritating solutions
  • Limited venous access
  • Simultaneous medication administration
Advantages of PICCs over other forms of central venous access:
  • Longer dwell time
  • Lower chance of infection
  • Less post-insertion potential complications
  • Variety of insertion settings