A peripherally inserted central catheter is a long, thin tube that is inserted through a vein in the arm. The catheter is threaded through the arm vein until it reaches a larger vein close to the heart. This is commonly called a PICC line.

Veins in the Arm
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PICC lines may be used if you need:

  • Long-term medication treatment and cannot take medication by mouth
  • Fluids—if you cannot drink enough to stay hydrated
  • Chemotherapy
  • Calories that you cannot get by eating
  • IV medication—if arm veins are hard to find or use

After the PICC line is in, it can be used for weeks to months.