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For Kids: PICC Line Placement

A kid-friendly overview of a PICC line placement

A girl checks in for a PICC line

Your doctor has requested that you receive a PICC line. PICC stands for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter. The PICC is placed so you can get medicine that will help take care of your infection or to give you nutrition. We thought you should know what happens when you have this procedure done so please read over this information with your parents. If you have any questions, we will answer them when you come to the hospital.

What should I expect during my PICC line placement?

Your parents will bring you to the hospital before your appointment so you can have time to do the following things before the PICC placement.

  1. Admissions check-in: At the admission's desk you will be given a bracelet with your name and medical records number. Lots of people will look at your bracelet throughout the day to make sure you are the right child for the PICC.
  2. Radiology check-in: The radiology check-in desk at Children's Colorado. After receiving your bracelet from admissions, you will go to the radiology check-in desk. Here your parents will be given some papers to fill out.
  3. Child life specialist: When you check into Radiology, a child life specialist will meet with you (if you are 3 years and older) and your parents and will take you through the procedure step-by-step, so you can understand what will happen. This is also a good time to ask any questions you may have.
  4. Radiology technician: A radiology technician will put some special white cream on both of your arms. This cream puts your nerves to sleep and protects you from feeling the PICC. You will only get one PICC. We put cream on both arms so we can look for the best place for your PICC to be placed. (The only exception to this would be if your doctor has asked that bilateral PICCs be placed. Then PICCs are placed in both arms.) After the cream has had time to work, a PICC nurse will talk to your parents about the procedure and ask them to say it’s okay to do it. Your parents cannot come back with you for the PICC. The room has to stay very clean so no germs can get near your PICC. The child life specialist will stay with you the whole time making sure everything goes well for you.
  5. Interventional radiology: This is the room where we will place your PICC line. We will have you climb onto the table and lie on your back. Then we will place a long board under your arm so it can rest comfortably.
  6. Making it clean: The radiologist technician who put the cream on your arms will wash your arm carefully with a sponge that has cold liquid in it. This makes your arm very clean. We will then put blue towels over your arm. The only person who can touch these towels is the PICC nurse. After that we will put a blue paper blanket over you. Getting ready takes longer than actually putting in the PICC.
  7. Looking for the vein: The PICC nurse will put some gel on a probe and rub it on the inside of your arm. This is called an ultrasound and it helps the nurse to find your biggest, best vein.
  8. Getting the PICC: We will let you know when the PICC is going in. The child life specialist will tell you when to take a big breath, which will help you relax and the PICC will go in very fast. Then the PICC nurse will give you some medicine to help the nerves go to sleep. The child life specialist will tell you to take another deep breath and after that you will feel some pushing but it won’t hurt.
  9. Almost done: After the PICC is in, we will need to clean it one more time. After we’re done, the nurse will put a sticky, clear cover over your PICC and then you are finished.