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Anyone have experience with a PICC line?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My home/health nurse dropped the "You may be headed for a PICC line" bomb on me yesterday due to hyperemesis and I'm terrified.


Anyone have one before?

How did you know when it was time to go there?

What was the insertion like?

How did you bathe / shower / wash your hair?

How long did you have it in?


Just any experience that anyone can share, good or bad, positive or negative, would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

post #2 of 6

this is when your sick from your hormones you can eat properly yes? i would say dont jump the gun on it, when i was pregnant with ny first i had this and didnt even seek medical care for it because i thought it was normal, anyway my point it the first 3-4 months of my pregnancy i could barely drink water or juice, i ended up losing over 40 pounds but eventually it faded out and my little one ended up fine, i think the key may be to just keep trying to eat even if its horrible and then atleast your body soaks up some hear and there you know? ohh well once again thats just me, i wouldent want all that invasive stuff also have you tried any medicine to help ease your symptoms?

post #3 of 6

The PICC line was a godsend, because my veins are just shot.  The insertion was not bad at all - some pressure, but it wasn't painful.  I could shower, but I have to cover it with a waterproof bandage thing so it wouldn't get wet.  I took a lot of baths with my arm out and had dh help me with my hair.


Just make sure that you use and everyone who comes in contact with your PICC uses precautions. Simple ones - like using wipes before hooking it up/injecting something.  I ended up with sepsis from nurses being careless.  Be vigilant about it!!


Even having the crappy infection and needing it pulled, I loved my PICC line.  It was so nice to not have to worry about whether or not it would blow and they'd be searching for yet another vein.

post #4 of 6

I was an oncology RN for 7 years and though there are risks with having a central line, I'd say the vast majority of patients I had were EXTREMELY thankful they had a central line. It's super easy to remove too - only takes 5 minutes or so.  You will be able to receive treatment quicker (as in, not having to wait around with hot packs on your arms and multiple people stabbing you until you actually get a viable IV site). You'll have less anxiety about getting IV antinausea meds and IV fluids if you already have a good IV site (like a PICC) so I don't know how much weight the emotional energy component has for you. You can ask whoever puts it in if they can send you home with some shower guards and medical tape to cover your PICC in the shower. Otherwise, I had a number of patients who swore by that clingwrap that was sticky on one side (do they still sell that? I don't live in the US anymore). They would wrap that around the PICC and close both ends with medical tape.

My husband had a PICC for IV antibiotics (freak infection) and though he's extremely squeemish with blood and such, he tolerated the insertion well (didn't faint - this is good for him) and only needed minimal assistance with it (the medical tape over the clingwrap for showers).

I'm sorry that you're at a point of even having to consider this. You must be feeling terrible. I hope if you get a PICC that you only need it for a short amount of time - that you are feeling better again soon.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

OP here- When I mentioned this to my mom, she said that she has been diagnosed with a leaky heart valve, as did my grandmother and great-grandmother.  Would the fact that heart valve problems appear to run in my family make a PICC line more dangerous or inadvisable?


Thanks for the feedback.  I JUST WANT THIS OVER!!!!!!!!

post #6 of 6

I couldn't respond with 100% certainty but I don't think that a history of heart valve problems in the family would put you in any danger as the PICC doesn't actually go into your heart - it goes into your subclavian vein and as far as your superior vena cava. You can't get a PICC line inserted without a doctor's order so I'd just let your home health nurse know about your family's history so she can tell your doctor before s/he orders it. But I think it shouldn't be a problem. Hope you are through this trying time soon.

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