What are the benefits of using a PICC?

  • A PICC is more comfortable compared with the many “needle sticks” that would have been needed for giving medications and drawing blood. The goal is to spare your veins from these frequent “needle sticks.”
  • A PICC can also spare your veins and blood vessels from the irritating effects of IV medications.
  • A PICC can be used in the hospital setting, nursing facility, or at home and can stay in place for weeks or months, if needed.
  • A PICC can be used for many types of IV treatments.
  • A PICC can be used to obtain most blood tests.

What are the risks during and after placement of a PICC?

  • There may be slight discomfort during the procedure.
  • Bleeding may occur at the insertion site.
  • It is sometimes necessary to attempt more than once and it may not be possible to insert the entire length of the PICC.
  • During insertion of a PICC, accidental puncture of an artery, nerve, or tendon can occur near the insertion site. However, this is a rare event.
  • A clot may form around the catheter in the vein (thrombosis), which can cause swelling and pain in the arm.
  • Inflammation in a vein (phlebitis) can develop from the use of all types of IVs, including PICCs.
  • An infection may occur at the insertion site or in the bloodstream.
  • The PICC can come out, partially or completely, if not well-secured and completely covered.
  • The PICC can move out of position in the vein and may need to be removed or repositioned.
  • The PICC may become blocked. Medication may need to be used to clear it.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/30/2015.

References

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