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  • Writer's pictureFrancesco Bruno Tagliaferro

PICC - peripherally inserted central catheter

Updated: Jul 23, 2023



PICCs (acronym for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) are central venous catheters positioned in a peripheral vein (generally the basilica), which reach up to a central vein (generally the superior vena cava). They are small-diameter plastic tubes, generally between 4 and 7 French (3 French = 1 mm), with a single or double lumen. PICCs can be used in hospital or at home, and are indicated for the medium-term administration of pharmacological therapy and parenteral nutrition, and can remain in place for up to 12 months and even beyond, if no complications occur. PICC placement is a sterile procedure but does not require an operating room. After preparing the sterile operating field, local anesthesia and ultrasound-guided venous puncture of a vein in the arm (the basilica) are performed. After vein access, the catheter is advanced in the venous bed from the arm to the superior vena cava (atriocaval junction). If the procedure is performed in the angiography room, the correct positioning of the catheter can be verified by fluoroscopy (x-rays), otherwise a radiographic control will be carried out at the end of the procedure.


RX torace che mostra un PICC in vena cava superiore
Chest x-rays showing a PICC in the correct position

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