PICC Line and Midline Catheter

PICC Line and Midline Catheter care is very important.  This page describes, in general, PICC line and catheter care.  However, this is only a guide and you must consult your medical professionals and follow their directions.

PICC Line Care and Midline Catheter Care

PICC Line Care and Midline Catheter Care provide information and guidance on how to care for your PICC or Midline Catheter placement such as after a hospital discharge or after a procedure is performed at an outpatient clinic.  While a PICC is a Central Venous Catheter Line and a Midline is not a Central Venous Catheter Line, the care and maintenance of each is approximately the same as each is a short-term (temporary) tube that is used instead of a regular IV (intravenous) line.  Both PICCs and Midlines are used instead of Peripheral IVs as they can enable medicine or nutrition needs to be given over a longer period of time, reduce the discomfort of multiple Peripheral IV’s each time a new one is needed, and allow for home therapy or therapy at a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) or senior care community.  PICCs may have more than one channel or lumen to allow different fluids or infusions at the same time and because PICCs are central catheter lines, they can stay in place longer and allow for stronger concentrated medications.

vascular access clinician

Vascular Access Clinician

washing hands is essential

Washing Hands is Essential

PICC Line and Midline Catheter Care and Attention

Your PICC Line or Midline Catheter does need care and attention to keep it clean and working.  This care includes changing the bandage (dressing), flushing the catheter with fluids, and changing the cap on the end of the catheter.  You must always wash your hands with soap and clean running water before and after touching any part of your PICC or Midline Catheter.  You must comply with all follow-up care instructions by your healthcare provider.  The PICC or Midline Catheter will be removed when it is no longer needed or indicated for use, if complications occur, or if it becomes infected.  Your care and attention to your PICC or Midline Catheter is very important.

Dressing Changes of PICC or Midline Catheter Site

Sterile techniques must be used for any PICC or Midline Catheter dressing change.  If you or your family member, friend or anyone assisting you does not know sterile dressing techniques, you must contact your healthcare provider for instructions.  You must change the dressing over the PICC or Midline Insertion Site as directed which is usually about once per week; however, you must check the dressing daily and change it sooner if the dressing gets dislodged, wet or soiled.

PICC and Midline Dressing Change Supplies

PICC and Midline Dressing Change Supplies

Keep your Catheter Dry

Keep your Catheter Dry 

Activities with a PICC or Midline Catheter

You do not want the tube migrating out and as such, you need to be mindful of the PICC or Midline Catheter.  You must not let the tubing hang freely and you must not pick or pull at it.  You also need to avoid heavy lifting with the arm in which the PICC line or Midline is placed.  The site should be kept dry and as such, when you bathe or shower, tape plastic wrap or a plastic bag over it.  Do not submerge the PICC or Midline site under water and do not swim or use hot tubs.  If the dressing gets wet, change it immediately.

Seeking Medical Attention for a PICC Line or Midline Catheter

You must call your healthcare provider if any of the following occur:
• Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
• Drainage from the PICC or Midline Insertion Site
• Swelling or bulging around the PICC or Midline Insertion Site
• Bleeding from the PICC or Midline Insertion Site
• Skin pulls away from the PICC or Midline Insertion Site
• Redness, warmth, or pus at the PICC or Midline Insertion Site
• Tubing breaks, splits, or leaks
• More exposed tubing (tubing seems longer) or the tubing is pulled out completely
• Medicine or fluids don’t drain from the bag into your PICC or Midline

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