Peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) placement

Also known as: PICC placement, line PICC, Central Venous Catheters

A PICC ("pick"), line is one of  several types of central venous catheters. It is inserted into a vein in the arm rather than a vein in the neck or chest.

Other central venous catheters include:

  • Tunneled catheter. This type of catheter is surgically inserted into a vein in the neck or chest and passed under the skin. Only the end of the catheter is brought through the skin through which medicines can be given. Passing the catheter under the skin helps keep it in place better, lets you move around easier, and makes it less visible.
  • Implanted port. This type is similar to a tunneled catheter but is left entirely under the skin. Medicines are injected through the skin into the catheter. Some implanted ports contain a small reservoir that can be refilled in the same way. After being filled, the reservoir slowly releases the medicine into the bloodstream. An implanted port is less obvious than a tunneled catheter and requires very little daily care. It has less impact on a person's activities than a PICC line or a tunneled catheter.
A central venous catheter, or vascular access device (VAD), is a long, thin, flexible tube used to give medicines, fluids, nutrients, or blood products over a long period of time, usually several weeks or more. A catheter is often inserted in the arm or chest through the skin into a large vein. The catheter is threaded through this vein until it reaches a large vein near the heart.