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PICC Line - Definition of a PICC Line

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Updated June 13, 2014

Definition: Percutaneously inserted central catheters (PICC lines), are long, thin, plastic tubes that travel from a vein in an arm or leg into one of the large veins near the heart. In premature infants, they are used to deliver fluids or medications.

A PICC line is similar to a peripheral IV, but is longer and lasts longer. Premature infants have fragile veins, and peripheral IVs usually last only 1 to 3 days. A PICC line, though more difficult to insert, can be used for 1 to 2 weeks or more.

Also Known As: peripherally inserted central catheter
Examples:
The nurse practitioner inserted a PICC line to deliver fluids to the baby.
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