Skip to main content

What Is A Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC)?

A PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) is a long, thin tube inserted through a vein in your child’s arm. It stops at a large vein near your child’s heart. It can deliver medicine directly into the vein and collect blood samples as needed.

Who Benefits From PICC?

A PICC line can avoid the pain of frequent pricks and reduce the risk of irritation to the smaller veins in your child’s arm. It is a reliable and safe method that can be used for 3 months at a time, sometimes longer. Children who require long-term medications don’t have to go through the stress of getting repeatedly poked by needles when utilizing a PICC.

What To Expect With A PICC

The PICC should have a bandage on it at all times. The dressing covering the PICC prevents germs from getting into your child’s bloodstream. The home care agency nurse will change the bandage or teach you how to do it. Every caregiver must have training on how to care for the PICC before using it. Your home care agency provides the training.

Your child may move around normally with the PICC. To protect the PICC from damage, water, and being pulled out of the vein, keep the needleless connector secured against your child’s arm with either tape or a mesh sleeve. 

Rehabilitation and Recovery

The PICC must always have a needleless connector attached to the end of the catheter. The connector prevents germs from entering the bloodstream and prevents blood from leaking out of the PICC. Your home care agency will teach you how to change this. You must keep the needleless connector clean- do not allow your child to suck or chew on it, do not allow it to get in bathwater, and do not allow it to drop inside your child’s diaper.

If your child wants to “play” with the PICC, use a wrap to keep the device covered. Please do not allow the PICC to dangle. The catheter can catch on things resulting in accidental removal.

Your Care Team

Call your home care agency right away if the PICC starts to come out of the arm. If the PICC comes out of the arm completely, apply pressure at the insertion site with gauze, a cotton ball, or tissue, and call your home care agency right away. 

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.