What to Expect When PICC Lines and Midlines Are Placed

In my last column, I reviewed the different types of IV access available when you’re a hard stick for traditional IVs. I’ve had them all and will share my experiences about what to expect, along with some care tips.

PICC lines and midlines

Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines are great for long-term medications that likely will be ended within a few months. I’ve actually had 19 PICC lines! Mine were placed for a few reasons including long-term IV antibiotics, IV steroids, and for my longer hospital stays because of how hard an IV stick I am. When any type of specialized line is placed, it needs to be done in a sterile environment. If receiving one as an inpatient, typically a hospital room will suffice. As an outpatient, they typically can be placed at a day surgery center or in interventional radiology. I suggest wearing loose, comfortable clothes. First, a patient lies down on a table and the nurse technician brings a machine that scans for the most promising vein for a PICC line to enter. The technician marks the spot, then measures the distance from the dot to the shoulder, then to the neck and down to the heart. Technicians need this measurement to cut the PICC line to length. Next, the technician will clean the patient's arm with iodine to disinfect the area. A
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" Lisa Burks : Hello! Im 32 and a fellow Crohnie Warrior! I'm one lucky lady to have a great man by my side, a proud fur mom of the cutest pup Lucy along with having some supportive family & friends. I love sewing, reading, listening to music and watching movies with my hubby. I enjoy helping others when I can by sharing my experiences and knowledge, just trying to make a difference in this world! I always look for the silver linings in life. They are there, you just have to look!."