A PICC line is a soft, flexible intravascular catheter that is inserted peripherally. The tip of the catheter is then advanced until it is in a central vein. The recommended tip location is the caval atrial junction. This location is above the right atrium in the superior vena cava. With proper care, a PICC can remain in place for an extended period of time.


A physician or practitioner may place an order a for a PICC line for several different reasons as listed below:

  • IV medications that may cause vein irritation
  • Certain drug infusions can cause irritation to peripheral veins leading to chemical phlebitis. These include some antibiotics and other medications. These medications may either be very alkaline with a pH greater than 9 or very acidic with a pH less than 5.
  • Normal blood pH is between 7.35 and 7.45(Link to medications that may cause vein irritation)
  • Hyperosmolar solutions such as peripheral parental nutrition (PPN)
  • Limited peripheral vein access
  • Therapeutic infusions that must be administered for greater than 6 days.


  • Decrease the risk of intravenous trauma
  • Less costly than repeated IV placements
  • PICC lines can remain in place for an extended period of time.


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