Home Care of a PICC Line
A peripherally inserted central catheter is referred to as a PICC line. PICC lines are tubes inserted in to a vein via a patient’s arm. The tube travels up to the vein next to the right side of a patient’s heart. This is done in the hospital, but often patients which chronic illnesses, such as cystic fibrosis, are sent home with their PICC lines still in place so that medication can continue to be dispensed through the PICC line. In order to prevent infection, PICC lines must be properly cared for.
You will need the following items to clean your PICC line:
- Antiseptic solution
- Arm protector
- Medical tape
- Catheter cap
- Alcohol swab pads
Follow these steps to clean your PICC line:
Wash your hands with an antiseptic solution before caring for a PICC line. Your hands may contain germs that can cause an infection. The antiseptic solution will kill those germs.
Use an arm protector when showering. This will keep the dressing covering your PICC line dry. Wet dressings allow bacteria to grow, which will result in an infection, click over here.
Keep the PICC line taped to your arm with medical tape. Without the PICC line taped in place, the line can catch on clothing or on items it brushes up against.
Change the PICC line dressing and its cap once per week. The catheter cap needs to be wiped down with an alcohol swab pad before you place it on the PICC line. You should also wipe the cap down with an alcohol swab pad each time you use the PICC line.
Flush the PICC line with a syringe of 10 cc of saline after administering medication through the PICC line. You should also flush the line every 12 hours if medication is not given regularly. This keeps blood clots from forming in the vein with the PICC line.
Resist the urge to participate in activities that require you to lift any object more than 5 to 10 pounds.
If you experience any pain in the arm with the PICC line, swelling, red streaking, fever, a hot feeling in the PICC line arm or any leaking of fluid after you flush the catheter seek medical attention immediately.
Never allow your blood pressure to be taken in the arm that has the PICC line .
Do not have dental work performed while using a PICC line. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation warns that bacteria can be released in to the blood stream during dental work. The bacteria may stick to the PICC line and cause an infection.