Search Encyclopedia:    
List of Topics Print This Page
 

Percutaneously inserted central catheter - infants


Alternative Names:

PICC - infants; PQC - infants; Pic line - infants; Per-Q cath - infants

Information:

A percutaneously inserted central catheter (PICC) is a long, very thin, soft plastic tube that is put into a small blood vessel. This article addresses PICCs in babies.

Why is a PICC used?

A PICC is used when a baby needs IV fluids or medicine over a long period of time. Regular IVs only last 1 to 3 days and need to be replaced. A PICC can stay in for 2 to 3 weeks or longer.

PICCs are often used in premature babies who cannot feed because of bowel problems or who need IV medicines for a long time.

How is a PICC placed?

The doctor or nurse will:

  • Give the baby pain medicine
  • Clean the baby's skin with a germ-killing medicine (antiseptic)
  • Make a small surgical cut and place a hollow needle into a small vein in the arm or leg
  • Move the PICC through the needle into a big vein, putting its tip near (but not in) the heart
  • Take an x-ray to place the needle
  • Remove the needle after the catheter is placed

What are the risks of having a PICC placed?

  • The health care team may take several tries to place the PICC. In some cases, the PICC cannot be properly positioned and a different therapy will be needed.
  • There is a small risk of infection. The longer the PICC is in place, the greater the risk.
  • Sometimes the catheter may wear away the blood vessel wall. IV fluid or medication can leak into nearby areas of the body.
  • Very rarely, the PICC can wear away the wall of the heart. This can cause serious bleeding and poor heart function.
  • Very rarely, the catheter may break inside the blood vessel.

Review Date: 10/29/2013
Reviewed By: Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

   View History
  Percutaneously inserted central catheter - infants

Related Links
Request an Appointment Online or call
1-800-789-PENN (7366)
List physicians for this condition
   
   

 

About UPHS   Contact Us   Site Map   Privacy Statement   Legal Disclaimer   Terms of Use

The University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, PA 1-800-789-PENN © 2014, The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania