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This information was reviewed and approved by Lindsay Folbigg, RN (10/1/2016).

Your doctor has requested you have a PICC line placed. PICC stands for “Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter”. A PICC line is a catheter that is inserted into a vein in your upper arm. The catheter is then advanced and positioned in a large vein in your chest just above the heart.


Why are you getting a PICC line?

A PICC line is placed for you to receive IV medicine for a period of time. The PICC line will prevent you from having a needle inserted in a vein each time you need medicine. Medicine is less irritating when it is placed in a large vein. 


How do you get ready for the PICC line insertion?

Wear clothing you can remove from the waist up. A short sleeved or loose sleeved shirt is best. You will be given a gown to wear.


What is done during the PICC line insertion?

The procedure will be performed in the MIDC area, located on the 1st floor, near the check-in area. MIDC stands for Minimally Invasive Diagnostic Center.

Before the procedure, you will need to remove all clothing and jewelry from the waist up. You will be given a hospital gown to wear.

A specially trained nurse will place your PICC line. Ask any questions before the procedure begins. You will lie on your back as flat as possible for this procedure.

The PICC nurse will use an ultrasound machine to locate the best vein in your arm to place the PICC line. This will not hurt. Once the area is identified your arm will be cleaned with a strong antiseptic. A drape will be placed over your arm to keep the area germ free. You will be asked to lay as still as possible during the placement of the PICC.

The area above the vein will be anesthetized with lidocaine through a small needle. This will sting for a short time. The PICC line will then be inserted in a large vein in your arm.  The PICC line will be secured with a stabilization/securement device and a clear covering.  When the PICC line is in place a chest x-ray will be done.  A radiologist will verify that the PICC line is ready for use. 

You will be given further instructions on how to care for your PICC line. The discharge planner will assist you in arranging home IV medications as needed.


How long will this take?

Inserting a PICC line will take about 1-11/2 hours from the time you arrive in the MIDC.


How do you get to your PICC line placement appointment?

Please check in at the Admissions Desk. Admissions will call the MIDC and a nurse will come and get you.

If you have questions, or will not be able to make your appointment, please call: 303-398-1355.

Get directions and see a campus map of National Jewish Health.


Learn how to care for your PICC line.