Just what is a PICC Anyway?
When hearing a patient needs a peripherally inserted central catheter (or PICC) chances are they (or their loved one) are already suffering from one of several critical illnesses. PICCs are commonly thought of when a patient has cancer, kidney disease, or in the case of premature infants. The PICC is used as long term option when a regular intravenous catheter would be in a state of constant replacement.
How long have we been using PICCs and what are the different options?
The first documented case study for PICC was in 1996 (World Journal of Critical Care Medicine) and PICC options have changed immensely in that short 20 years. PICCs currently vary in material makeup. The newest material currently used is polyurethane, and the older being silicone. Both types are still in use today. Some have one lumen, others have three, (also commonly known as triple lumen) PICC vary in size from 3-6 French. Additionally, some PICCs are capable of delivering up to 300mL/min in critical patients.
How and where are PICCs placed in patients?
This is where the research gets very interesting. The truth of the matter is there are two methods to discuss. The first method is commonly known as the “blind” method where the catheter line is threaded by feel through a vein the arm and into the superior vena cava of the heart. The second method is accomplished using ultrasound technology to guide the catheter up through the arm and into the heart chamber.