A PICC, a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, is a type of central line used to deliver fluids and medication to the bloodstream over an extended period. You will probably have several questions about what to expect during the procedure and in the first few days, but no need to worry, Mighty Well has you covered! Here’s what to expect from your first PICC line.
1. The PICC procedure
Your first PICC line will be placed in a radiology interventional procedure room. You should expect it to take about an hour. You’ll lie on your back on a procedure table, with your arm resting on a board for support. After selecting the right vein, the physician will sterilize your arm and will inject a local anesthetic just under your skin for numbing. It may sting or burn, but after just a few seconds your arm will be numb and you’ll only feel pressure during the procedure.
With the support of an ultrasound, your practitioner will thread your catheter through your vein up towards your heart. You won’t feel a thing throughout this process, so just breathe and stay calm as they do their job!
Once the PICC is placed, your nurse will review how to care for your line and what is expected of you and your caregivers. It’s always helpful to have someone else in the room, as you may be a bit overwhelmed after the procedure is complete.
2. The first few days with a PICC
You will likely head home soon after that one-hour procedure, and it’s important to give yourself plenty of time to rest. Make sure you have a clear plan for keeping your PICC site clean and dry to prevent infection. Purchase your PICCPerfect® PICC line cover early so you have something comfortable and secure to put on as soon as you get home.
Your arm will feel very numb, sore, and swollen for the first few days (the swelling might even last a week or so) – but don’t worry – that’s normal! It may be helpful to get a larger size of the PICCPerfect® to support you through these days of swelling.
3. Living life with your PICC line
Just because you have a PICC Line doesn’t mean you need to slow down! As long as you take the steps necessary to prevent infection, you will be able to move through your life much like you did before you had the PICC line placed. Once you start to feel more comfortable with your PICC line, you’ll become a pro at doing treatments on the go (the Fluid Motion Backpack can help with that!) while turning your sickness into strength.
4. Emily’s tips & tricks for daily life with a PICC
Mighty Well co-founder, Emily Levy, was frustrated by the lack of options for protecting her PICC line, and that’s why she created the PICCPerfect® PICC line cover! Check out this video about Emily’s tips on what to expect, based on her personal experience!
Still have questions?
Take a look at our PICC line FAQs here.
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