It’s possible for an infection to develop inside the line or in the area where it goes into the vein.
Contact your hospital doctor or nurse if you have:
- redness, swelling or pain in the area
- discoloured fluid coming from the area
- a high temperature (fever).
If you get an infection, you will be given antibiotics. If the infection doesn’t get better, the line may be removed.
It’s possible for a blood clot (thrombosis) to form in your vein at the tip of the line. You may be given medication to help prevent this. Contact your hospital doctor or nurse if you notice any swelling, redness or tenderness in the arm, chest area, or up into the neck (on the same side as the PICC line).
If a clot does form, you will be given some medication to dissolve it. Your line may have to be removed.
Air in the PICC line
It’s important not to get any air into your PICC line. Not all PICC lines have clamps. Some lines have caps at the end that stop air from getting into the line. If your PICC line has a clamp, it should always be closed when the line isn't being used. The line must not be left unclamped when the caps aren't in place.
The PICC line may come out
To stop the line coming out by accident, it should always be taped or covered with a dressing. If the dressing holding the PICC line in place comes loose, contact your district or hospital nurse immediately. Then it can be replaced as soon as possible.
Break or cut in the PICC line
It is important that the PICC line is not cut or split. Don’t use scissors near the PICC line. It’s not very common to get a cut or split in the line. If this happens, contact your hospital immediately. The line may need to be removed if it can't be repaired.