A P.I.C.C. line stands for a peripherally inserted central catheter. Generally, it is a small tube inserted into a peripheral vein in the upper arm in order to gain intravenous access. It provides a better way of medication administration because it usually flows into a large vessel near the heart. P.I.C.C. lines are less invasive than other options, but remain in your body anywhere from seven days to four weeks.
P.I.C.C. lines are used for patients needing:
- Prolonged IV antibiotic treatment
- Total parenteral nutrition
- Multiple access with one line
- Extended treatment
If you have a P.I.C.C. line, your nurse will monitor it regularly to ensure there are no complications. They will check for any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive bleeding
- Pain during infusion
- Catheter sepsis
- Air embolism
- Catheter tip migration
After you have received your medication via your catheter, your nurse will flush your P.I.C.C. line with saline to clean out any lingering fluid or blood. When your treatment is completed, the nurse may then remove the catheter with a physician’s order.