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PICC-line vs Port

Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2004

Hi everyone,
I don't do a lot of posting but I read everything on this web-site.
I have a question about picc-lines. A few weeks ago I developed a blood clot in my arm. It was determined that my port caused it. I was hospitalized for 4 days, now I'm on Coumadin. My Oncologist decided that the port needed to be removed because the swelling in my arm didn't go down and I developed some sort of veinous pattern in the area of the clot. The port was removed last week and next week they will insert a picc-line. Does anybody have any experience with this picc-line. I'm not sure what to expect and any advice will be very much appreciated.
Thanks in advance

Anonymous user (not verified)

Hi Regine:

My husband Bert has what I believe you refer to as a PICC-Line. He has a port inserted in his lower inside arm with a line that runs in the vein to his heart. If I'm not off base here, Bert has no complaints and there have been no problems. Literally an in and out procedure for Bert....mild local anesthesia (sp ?)...and off he went. On the other hand, my mom had a port installed right below her left shoulder that was totally worthless. When she started her chemo treatments for lung cancer, they onc was never able to access the port as it "slipped out" and thus, chemo was administered through her veins. Both times, for placement and removal, mom was in a full day and completely put under.


jsabol's picture
Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2003

Hi Regine, I have personal experience with a port, which despite developing a clot in my neck, remains open and usable. A PICC line, if my nursing memory serves me right, is not completely under the skin? so it may need to be given a little more TLC than the port.
Sorry to hear about yours and Monika's moms problems with the port. I guess it's like most things that work well until you develop a problem!!!
Hang in there, Judy

shmurciakova's picture
Posts: 910
Joined: Dec 2002

Hello, My experience w/ a PICC line was for intravenous feeding. I developed a hematoma at the site of my liver resection which was pressing on the duodenum (beginning of the small intestine). I was unable to eat until the hematoma went down.....I went like 2 weeks w/o being able to eat, so they finally inserted a PIC line, which was actually no big deal, but I was in the hospital, so I did not have to clean it myself and neither did anyone in my family. It seemed that it was not a big deal but had to be done quite frequently as I recall. Also, the PICC line was pressing on something which would cause my heart to palpitate if I moved in a certain direction. I think this could have been resolved by pulling the line out slightly, but since I only had my line in for a few days, I just tried not to turn my body in that direction. I also developed phlebitis from the line, which is like an inflammation of the vein. Once again, not a problem because I did had the line removed after only a few days, but if you are going to have it in for a long time, I would ask them what would they do if you develop phlebitis.
Good luck, Susan

Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2004

I have a PICC line that was inserted in Feb. Thus far, I have had no problems with it. It does get a little annoying having to wrap my arm every time that I want to take a shower. I change the dressing around it once a week and it has to be flushed with saline and heprine once a week.

The only down sides are that you can't go swimming or submerge your arm. I was not told exactly why, but I think it is so dirty water doesn't cause infection. I have been told that a PICC line that is cared for properly can last 6-months to a year.

Hope that helps a little.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2010

I have a PICC line and am on Coumadin as well. My doctors put in a PICC line because I had complications (blood clots) and they did not want to take me off Coumadin to put a port in. The PICC line insertion is not bad. Takes about an hour with all of the prep and check in (had it done in a hospital). There was a small amount of pain when they put the lidocaine in but that was the worst of it. If I do not get a port later I will have my line for about six months. So far the maintenance is not bad but getting supplies can be a hassle. The ports need to be flushed once a day (I have two) and the dressing must be replaced once a week. The port area needs to be kept dry during showers. Other than that it has not been a huge issue. The lines need to be protected as with any catheter. I flush the lines myself once my wife connects the syringes for me. I also disconnect my portable pump after each infusion (1 x 2 weeks). All in all a good experience so far.

Posts: 1933
Joined: Oct 2009

Insertion and removal of port much more complicated than for picc (insertion/removalof picc done in hospital; port inserted in hosp, removed at surgeon's office as he had necessary facility, tools,experience, etc- most removals done in hosp). Both picc or port much better than using veins for infusion (did that twice)and drawing blood.Started with port for three of five scheduled infusions but, for whatever reason, I wasn't told it needed to be flushed every 4 weeks between end of preop chemo and start, some months later, of postop chemo so I needed picc for postcolostomy FOLFOX as port stopped totally.Problem with picc I had was due to pump(for FOLFOX) tubing getting caught under my body or knee and I'd end up pulling picc line out of arm; needed a second picc as first pulled out too far and couldn't be used any longer.
Both devices infuse chemo into you and are used for drawing blood as blood tests are given quite often to see how you're holding up, etc. Don't know if I would have had tubing problem with a port during FOLFOX pump . I think, having had both devices, I would go with port if it works as its supposed to, is flushed properly and inserted properly (tho it can move or the bevel part at end inside you can be blocked by blood vessel, blood clot,etc,....)

I was told not to get picc area wet; you have to be careful that it doesn;t come out of arm (as mine did even after several stitches to keep it from moving=I ended up busting stitches as well even tho I did my best not to use left arm (where picc was in upper inner arm , a few inches from armpit)As infusion was every two weeks, picc had to be flused noninfusion week, bandage changed/area cleaned by nurse (Girlfriend taught how to flush it when I was allowed to take home the yellow and clear injection fluids but not qualified as a wound nurse)

Best of results in response to treatment....It does get better....steve

coolvdub's picture
Posts: 410
Joined: Aug 2009

It was a no brainer for me, port=surgical procedure to put in and remove. PICC line inserted/removed by an RN. I hated having to cover up to shower, but still way better than yet another surgical procedure. I had mine in about 7-8 months, only problem was they weren't able to do blood draws, line was plugged up for that.


Posts: 7
Joined: Jun 2010

Had a PIcc line before my port.... I dont ever want a PICC line again......

I was always worried about catching it on something... and flushing daily got on my nerves......

I know a port aint perfect but so far its worked for me......

Sorry about the clot...... Were they flushing the lines as they were supposed to? Dunno... im new to this.. just asking......

hoya1973's picture
Posts: 37
Joined: May 2010

I initially had a Picc line installed as I had a fever which prevented the Port installation. The Picc was in my arm and the line ran through my shoulder. I was experiencing severe pain in my shoulder blade if I would involuntary raise the arm with the Picc line during a shower or putting my arm through a shirt sleeve. Now I have a Port and aside from the initial surgery and avoiding water when connected to a portable chemo pump, the Port is much better for me. Hopefully I can swing a golf club and will give it a test this week.

ninetoes's picture
Posts: 81
Joined: Jun 2009

I had a port in my right side that developed a clot after my 2nd chemo treatment. They removed it and I spent 4 days in the hospital on heparin. After that I had to inject myself for 2 weeks at home. My onc wanted to do a picc line and put me in the hospital for each chemo treatment. I didn't like that idea and went to another doctor. He put another port in the left side and I had no more problems. The new port was a different kind, power port? It came in a purple box. I was on Coumadin for months, still have problems with the clot.

Hope this helps, good luck!


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