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Patient Education

Welcome to our Patient guide on PICC lines, Midlines, and Peripheral IVs.

We understand that medical devices may seem unfamiliar and even a bit overwhelming for some of our patients.

We're here to provide you with a clear understanding and offer support throughout your journey.

We also take every measure to minimize pain and discomfort for our patients. We use lidocaine local anesthetic to make sure all our procedures virtually pain free.


1. What are PICC lines, midlines, and peripheral IVs?

  • A PICC (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) line is a long, thin tube that is gently inserted into a vein in your arm. It is guided through the vein until it reaches a larger vein near your heart. This allows healthcare providers to easily administer medications, fluids, and even draw blood samples without needing to repeatedly poke you with needles. 

  • A midline is a shorter tube that is inserted into a vein in your upper arm. Unlike a PICC line, it doesn't reach the larger vein near your heart. It is used for delivering medications and fluids that are needed for a longer duration, but not as long as what a PICC line is typically used for.

  •  A peripheral IV is a small tube that is inserted into a vein in your hand or arm. It is used for shorter-term treatments, such as administering medications, fluids, or blood transfusions.


2. Why are these devices used?

  • PICC lines and midlines are used when you need long-term Intravenous treatment through your veins. This can include chemotherapy, extended antibiotic therapy, or receiving nutrition directly into your bloodstream.

  • Peripheral IVs are used for shorter-term treatments, like managing pain, providing fluids when you're dehydrated, or delivering medications that are not harsh on veins.


3. How are they placed?

  • PICC Line: A skilled healthcare provider will use ultrasound guidance to locate the best vein in your arm. They will clean the skin over the vein with an anti microbial cleaner, numb the area with a local anesthetic, and gently insert the PICC line. Once in place, they will secure it and cover it with a sterile dressing.

  • Midline: Similar to a PICC line, a healthcare provider will use ultrasound guidance to find the best vein in your upper arm. They will clean the area, numb it with a local anesthetic, and carefully insert the midline. It will be secured and covered with a sterile dressing.

  • Peripheral IV: A healthcare provider will clean the chosen site, often on your hand or arm, with an antiseptic solution. They will then gently insert the small tube into the vein. Once it's in place, they will secure it with a clear dressing.


4. How should you care for these devices?

  • PICC Line and Midline: It's important to keep the insertion site intact with a clean and dry dressing. Avoid pulling on the line and be careful when bathing or showering by using a waterproof cover to protect it. Follow the specific care instructions given by your healthcare provider, including flushing the line, maintaining the integrity of the dressing, and watching for signs of infection or complications.

  • Peripheral IV: Keep the area clean and dry, and avoid putting pressure on the IV. Notify your healthcare provider immediately if you notice any redness, swelling, or discomfort at the insertion site.


5. Potential risks and complications:

  • While these devices can be highly beneficial, they do come with some risks. These include infection, blood clots, bleeding, fluid leakage, and inflammation in the vein. If you experience any pain, discomfort, or notice any concerning symptoms, don't hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider right away. 


Remember, you are not alone in this journey to better health. Your healthcare team is there to support you, answer your questions, and address any concerns you may have. Together, we will ensure your well-being and provide you with the best possible service!

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