PICC (Peripherally-Inserted Central Catheter) Line Insertion


In this common procedure, a thin, flexible catheter connected to an injection port is placed into a vein in the arm and guided through the circulatory system into a large vein above the heart. Once in place, it can be used to deliver medications and fluids.

A PICC is often used when a patient needs to be given medication over an extended period of time. A PICC can be used to provide antibiotics, pain medication, or chemotherapy drugs. It can also be used to take blood samples or administer fluid nutrition.

In preparation for the procedure, the insertion point on patient’s arm is numbed with a local anesthetic. The physician carefully inserts a needle or cannula into a vein in the arm. The physician threads a catheter through this channel, and the needle or cannula is removed.

The catheter is pushed up through this vein, through the arm, and into the chest. It is carefully guided into a large vein called the superior vena cava, which is located above the heart. The physician may use an x-ray device, called a fluoroscope, to monitor the catheter’s progress and guide it into position.

When the procedure is complete, the end of the catheter is secured to the patient’s arm. Sutures and bandages may be used to keep it in place. The patient also may be given a chest x-ray to confirm that the catheter is positioned properly. A PICC can be left in the body for up to one year, depending on the patient’s need.

For peripherally-inserted central catheter (PICC) services in San Antonio, make an appointment with the doctors at the Digestive & Liver Disease Center of San Antonio.