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At UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of this procedure and invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about the procedure and how you can help.
The PICC, also called a PICC line, is used for giving IV fluids, IV nutrition fluid (also known as TPN) and medicines, and for drawing blood. It usually is placed at the bend of the arm near the elbow or close to it because this vein has a large volume of blood flow. It is never placed in the hand or in the wrist. The PICC is put into the vein in the arm where it will go directly into the heart. Once placed, the PICC can stay in for up to several months.
Your child may receive a PICC to:
You may want to bring along a “comfort” item—such as a favorite stuffed animal or “blankie”—for your child to hold during the procedure.
If your child is having sedation, there are important rules for eating and drinking that must be followed in the hours before the procedure.
The PICC is done in the Interventional Radiology suite at the Department of Pediatric Radiology of Children’s Hospital. Interventional Radiology doctors perform minimally-invasive procedures using images or pictures, such as X-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds, to guide them. In the Interventional Radiology suite will be a pediatric interventional radiology doctor, who will supervise your child’s procedure. Pediatric radiology technologists and nurses will help the doctor. The doctor and staff will be wearing hats (like shower caps), masks, gloves, and lead aprons during the procedure. The lights will be dim inside the room. You will see an X-ray machine, a long table and television screens. You might explain to your child that the X-ray machine is a large camera for taking pictures that will be shown on the TV screens. If your child has any questions, the doctor, technologists and nurses will be happy to answer them before the procedure.
As a parent, you may have concerns about radiation exposure. Children’s takes every precaution to make sure your child is safe.
We welcome your help and support before and after the placement of the PICC. The most important role of a parent and guardian is to help your child stay calm and relaxed before the procedure. If your child is relaxed and is able to stay still for the entire procedure, he or she may not need sedation medication.
If your child has any special needs or health issues you feel the doctor needs to know about, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s and ask to speak with a nurse before your child’s PICC line is placed. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs.
Preparing your child beforehand, as well as comforting your child during the test, will help your child have a more positive experience. Sometimes it is difficult to know how to explain tests to children. If you have any questions about ways to prepare or support your child or feel your child will have difficulty during the test, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s and ask to speak with the child life specialist.
If you have any questions about these policies, please call the Department of Pediatric Radiology at Children’s or make sure you discuss them with the pediatric radiology doctor, nurse or technologist before the test.
Department of Pediatric Radiology
UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Drive
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Visit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation's website to make a donation online.