Diagnostic Testing
Peripherally Inserted Central Venous Catheter (PICC Line)

Peripherally Inserted Central Venous Catheter (PICC Line)


Imaging (Radiology) Procedures

What is the test?

A peripherally inserted central venous catheter (PICC line) addresses your needs for intravenous (IV) drug therapy. A PICC catheter is soft, flexible tubing consisting of either silicone or polyurethane. It is designed for the infusion of fluids including: blood products, medications, and IV nutrients. A PICC line may also be used for blood sampling. The PICC is placed into a vein in your arm and may facilitate venous access for weeks or months depending on your IV therapy needs.

How do I prepare?

There is no special preparation needed for the insertion of a PICC line. Please plan to arrive at the Imaging Department 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

What can I expect during the procedure?

The PICC insertion is a sterile procedure. You will lie on an x-ray table with your arm extended away from your body. An ultrasound technologist will take an image of your arm to determine the size of your vein, to assure that the PICC line will fit within the vein. The radiologist will access the vein using a needle and then use a special type of x-ray called fluoroscopy to obtain an image of the arm as he passes the PICC line up the vein. Once the radiologist has the PICC in the proper location, the line will be secured and a clean dressing applied. Often a chest x-ray is then performed to document the PICC placement.

After the procedure?

You will receive verbal instructions and a booklet explaining how to care for and use your PICC.

How and when will I get my results?

Typically, within 48 hours a written report about your PICC will be sent to your referring physician, explaining the results and the type of PICC you now have. Your physician will follow up with you regarding the use of the newly inserted PICC.

Where is the test performed?

Insertion of PICC lines is performed in the Imaging Services department at Cayuga Medical Center, at 101 Dates Drive, off NYS Route 96 in Ithaca.

About our Imaging Services

Cayuga Medical Center has a commitment to and reputation for staying abreast of changing technology and our imaging equipment is state-of-the-art. Our range of services is comprehensive and we offer all imaging modalities found in major medical centers. Radiologists are on site at all three of our locations, which also distinguishes the level of service we provide.

Imaging Services is staffed by six-board certified radiologists, many of whom are subspecialists in areas such as neuroradiology, abdominal CT, and interventional procedures. Assisting them are experienced radiologic technologists, many of whom have completed advanced training and are certified in specialty modalities.

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