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PICC line

Carolinagal's picture
Carolinagal
Posts: 90
Joined: May 2010

My dad is getting a PICC line tomorrow. He has had A LOT of problems with infection. He has been taking antibiotics off and on since his surgery. He has been given a shot of antibiotics for the past two days. Now they are going to give it through the PICC line for the next 10 days. If anyone can share their experience with this procedure and the results I sure would appreciate it. Thanks.

Tumor removed 12/17/10
Rad. completed 4/09/10

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi CG,
My PICC was a disaster but another experience to note from my side of the tracks.

I had lost a lot of weight and was just starting to stabilize and feel OK as I had started using the Vitashakes. My genius Doctors of sourse though it was rubbish and said I must have a PICC line so they could get the feed into me. In my state I wasn't up to arguing.

I also was burning out the veins on my hands.

I gather they can run it in at the neck or more commonly into the larger vein on the inside of your elbow (i.e. top of you inside forarm where they normally take blood.

They run a thin tube up through to reach to the neck (jugular), so it's about 2ft + or - a few inches. They then can use this to introduce medications and food supplemnts and other IV fluids.

Mine apparently kinked in the shoulder and so blew back out at the arm. It was very bad 24 hours and they eventually took it out.

The reason for doing a PICC should justified. They must also be very careful about further infection, because this is going straight into your system, hence very strict control of anyone handling it is a good idea re: sterilization and gloves etc. I had to tell a nurse to 'GET LOST' as she was about to mess with it without disinfecting her hands. Got to be vigilant.

I wish I had a happy story about it but that is what happened.

SCAM

Carolinagal's picture
Carolinagal
Posts: 90
Joined: May 2010

Thank you Scam for your reply. Sorry you had such a bad experience. My dad's procedure went well today. Hopefully ,he'll have good results from it. It seems there are many bumps in this road but, he's staying on the road - I'm glad for that. Thanks again for your help. Best wishes to you!

Fire34
Posts: 352
Joined: Feb 2010

Maybe you can tell me the difference. You & Carols father got a PICC line. Mine was a dual port-a cath. It seems like they are used for the same purpose but it seems like they are put in a little different. Mine was sugically place of course but my line was to the subclavian. A rather short distance.
As mentioned mine got infected and had to be removed, and as you mentioned that it was my Onc was worried about. Couldn't have gotten thru treament without it though, my veins dried up after the third week of chemo
Carol I hope your father does well. Best Wishes & prayers
Dave

staceya's picture
staceya
Posts: 701
Joined: Jan 2010

The difference seems to be that a port is placed surgically and a PICC not. Also the port has a more direct and shorter path. Ports are for longer term care. This article had some really good illustrations. Frederick Memorial Healthcare system. Also chemocare.com has good articles. I will try to post the picture in the expressions section.

PICC lines
Your doctor may ask you to have a long, thin tube put into a vein in the crook of your arm. This is called a Peripherally Inserted Central venous Catheter (PICC). Your doctor or chemotherapy nurse will explain the procedure to you. You will be given a local anaesthetic before the line is put in.Once it is in place, the PICC line is taped firmly to your arm to prevent it being pulled out of the vein. It can stay in the vein for many months. As with the central line it means that you do not have to have cannulas put in when you have your intravenous chemotherapy. Blood can also be taken through the line for testing. You will be able to bend your arm, bathe and shower, although you should avoid getting water on the area around the tube - a plastic dressing can be used for this. There are very few restrictions to everyday life. Before you go home, make sure that you are confident about looking after your line. A home care nurse can flush your line and change the dressing, or a friend or relative can be taught to do this for you. If you have any problems contact the staff in the chemotherapy clinic for advice.
The possible problems with PICC lines are the same as for central lines: blockage and infection.

Implantable port (Portacath)
An implantable port is a thin, soft plastic tube that is put into a vein and ends in an opening (port) just under the skin on your chest or arm. The port has a thin rubber disc through which needles can be passed to give medicines into the vein or take blood.
The tube is a long, thin hollow tube known as a catheter and the port is a disc about 2.5 to 4 cm in diameter. The catheter is usually inserted (tunnelled) under the skin of your chest. The tip of the catheter lies in a large vein just above your heart and the other end connects with the port which sits under the skin on your upper chest. The port shows as a small bump underneath the skin which can be felt, but nothing shows on the outside of your body. The possible problems are the same as for central lines: blockage and infection.

staceya's picture
staceya
Posts: 701
Joined: Jan 2010

I posted a good illustration of how ports and piccs are inserted and where they end up.
It is in my expressions page..I 'm not sure how it is accessed...

CajunEagle's picture
CajunEagle
Posts: 361
Joined: Oct 2009

It's accesed by clicking on your name, then clicking on expressions. When you get to the article, place your cursor on it and click to make it larger. Thanks for the illustration. I wasn't sure what a PICC Line entailed.
Larry

staceya's picture
staceya
Posts: 701
Joined: Jan 2010

I am glad you could make the picture bigger..I could hardly see it.

sweetblood22's picture
sweetblood22
Posts: 3230
Joined: Jan 2010

thanks for posting that stacey. i was always kinda wondering what you guys were talking about when it came to the port and picc things. i gotta tell you, those look 'worse' than the peg.

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Dave, as you see, Staceya did a great job and cleared it all up. Tx Staceya !

As I did say CG, just make sure it's handles with 'sterile' hands as it is a direct line. If all goes well, and it should, it will save him buring out the veins in the hand as that is NOT fun.

Scam

staceya's picture
staceya
Posts: 701
Joined: Jan 2010

Thank you! I had a PICC, but would get a port if I had a longer tx time. (I only had 7 weeks) the port is less intrusive, the picc really seemed to get in the way..
Stacey

carolinagirl67's picture
carolinagirl67
Posts: 153
Joined: Jul 2009

Please go with a PORT if at all possible. They were going to give my husband a PICC line but my sister is a RN and she told us to get a port and it has been wonderful. We barely even know it's there. Good Luck...Love your name! I'm in Charleston

Carolinagal's picture
Carolinagal
Posts: 90
Joined: May 2010

The PICC line was put in yesterday. It is supposed to be short term. He is being given vancomysin through it so hopefully, he'll be able to fight off the infection that has been hanging on so long. I like your name too. I'm in the upstate. We'll be in Charleston next Wednesday for more opinions and hopefully answers. Best wishes to you and your husband!

Fire34
Posts: 352
Joined: Feb 2010

Carol
I hated that stuff, seemed like the only antibiotic they had or wanted to give me. The side effects for me were terrible. At least I didn't have to go back to the doctors and say I hadn't had a bowel movement(a polite way to describe it)LOL.
I hope your dad does better on it than I did.How long has he had this infection? I had infections that seemd like they were on an ongoing basis. Most of my Vanco was IV of course and when I could finally swallow I got horse pills. Again Best Wishes & Prayers
Dave

Carolinagal's picture
Carolinagal
Posts: 90
Joined: May 2010

Dave,
My dad has been on different antibiotics since January. He has about 3 good days between bouts with the infection. He's struggling with thrush now because of all the antibiotics. How long did it take for your infections to go away? Thanks for the warning about the unpleasant side effect. I appreciate the good wishes and prayers! I hope all goes well for you too!

Fire34
Posts: 352
Joined: Feb 2010

Carol
My infections as I said were what seemed like ongoing. U of Chicago of course used blood tests as the indicator. I had eight weeks of chemo and I was hospitalized 3 of those weeks with some sort of infection. Then my alternating weeks of concurrent chemo/2x daily radiation I was hospitalized 4 of the weeks I was suppose to be home. One of the infections was in my salivary gland that swelled up like a golf ball.
About a month after treatment ended my port became infected and that is when I was given the horse pills, she put me on 1000 mg 2x a day after they removed my port.
I have a normally low blood count(red,hemoglobin) that concerned them somewhat. I had to have seven units during treatment, because of their protocol. My onc wants me to see the hematologist up there to find out why my marrow isn't doing what it is suppose to be doing.
I never had what everyone here is calling thrush, I dont think. I had terrible mouth sores from the 5FU I was on diflucan which seemed to work wonders for that.
Again Wishes & Prayers for your dad
Dave

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2194
Joined: Nov 2009

Carolinagal,

My PICC line was installed the day before my first chemo. Except for being inconvenient, I had no problems with it. It was put in to avoid the damage to veins that can occur when getting chemo in the arms or hands. It developed a hole (outside the skin - the line was bent too sharply, I think), and it failed on my last chemo day (nothing bad, but I did get my last chemo in my hand). Two of my three nurses there had never seen that happen and the third saw it only once before, so I wouldn't worry.

I was told I could not shower with it in, and couldn't get it wet in the bath, either. I did "cheat", though, and would wrap my arm with kitchen Press n Seal, then hold it out of the flow of water while I showered.

I received vancomycin (sp?) and another antibiotic through the PICC line for 9 days while I was hospitalized for infections - the PICC line made it much easier to get the aniobiotics in and blood out for tests.

It seems to me that the ports are less inconvenient than PICCs, but PICCS are much easier to put in and remove. also, I did not have to be "stuck" for any drug administration or to give blood samples.

I hope your dad's infections clear up. good he's got you to help him now.

Carolinagal's picture
Carolinagal
Posts: 90
Joined: May 2010

Pam,
Thanks for sharing your experience. The doctor mentioned putting my dad in the hospital for this treatment but decided home health could do it. The nurse delivered the supplies, started the first dose, told my mom how to do it and left. My mom is not a nurse so needless to say she is very nervous about doing this. She has done it all the past two days. She is extremely cautious. I can't believe they put that load on an untrained person. We are hopeful that the outcome will be good.
Thank you again. I wish you the best! God bless you

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