PICC Line & Chemotherapy Ports

Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) and Chemotherapy Port (port-a-cath) placements allow medical professionals a simple, pain-free way to draw blood, administer medications or nutrients as needed for treatment.

PICC lines are thin, flexible tubes inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided into the superior vena cava, a large vein above the heart's right side. PICC lines are typically placed in the basilic, brachial, cephalic, or medial cubital vein of the arm, with the right basilic vein being the preferred choice due to its larger size and superficial location.

Chemo port is a small, implantable device usually placed under the skin in the upper chest, arm, or abdomen. It is about the size of a quarter, but thicker, and is attached to a catheter that is guided into a large vein above the heart. The port is usually placed just under the collarbone, and the catheter goes over the collarbone and into the jugular vein in the lower neck.

When is the procedure recommended?

PICC lines are used for short-term delivery of IV medications, usually over weeks. Ports are used for longer-term delivery of IV medications, usually over months or often years.

How is the procedure performed?

A PICC line is placed using ultrasound imaging guidance. The interventional radiologist will insert a small tube into the vein in your neck. Then its position is verified using an x-ray. The visible part of the line will then be attached to the skin using an adhesive bandaid.

During a Chemo Port placement, the IR inserts a small tube into the vein within the neck. Then, a small pocket will be made under the chest skin about 2-3 inches below your collarbone. The port will fit into the pocket. After that, the tubing that is connected to the port is tunneled under the chest skin so that it enters the neck vein. 

What are the benefits?

  • Avoid the pain of frequent needle sticks
  • Reduce the risk of irritating smaller veins in the arms
  • Protect veins and blood vessels from the irritating effects of IV medications
  • Remain in place for weeks or months, allowing for medium-term venous access
  • Deliver large amounts of fluids or medicines that might not go through regular IVs

 

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