Doctors at Children’s Colorado may recommend a PICC line if your child needs intravenous (IV) therapies, such as medications, nutrition and fluids. Depending on your child’s condition, a PICC line may be the best way to receive these therapies or to have blood samples taken.
What is a PICC line?
PICC stands for “peripherally inserted central catheter:” a long, skinny, soft tube that delivers medicine, nutrition or fluids into your child’s body. Receiving these therapies through a PICC line can be easier and more comfortable than getting repeated injections.
If your child has a PICC line, we can also use it to take blood samples. We also sometimes use it to provide nutritional support for children who can't take in food or fluids by mouth.
At Children’s Colorado, an interventional radiologist (a doctor specializing in minimally invasive, targeted treatments) will perform your child’s PICC line placement. Your child’s doctor has years of training and experience doing this procedure.
How should I prepare for my child’s PICC line placement?
- Take time to talk with your child at home to explain the PICC line.
- Reassure your child that they’ll be safe and comfortable.
- You may want to bring a comfort item like a stuffed animal, toy or blanket.
What to expect during your child’s PICC line placement
When kids find out they need a PICC line, they may feel nervous. We’re here to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Here’s what your family can expect:
Check in to the hospital
- Please arrive 60 minutes before your child’s scheduled procedure.
- Bring a list of your child’s medicines and insurance card.
- We’ll give your child an identification bracelet to ensure they get the right test.
- A nurse and child life specialist will talk with you and your child about the procedure and answer any questions.
- You’ll sign a consent form.
Prepare for the PICC line placement
- A radiology technologist puts a numbing cream on your child’s arms. (Usually, your child will get only one PICC line, but we put cream on both arms so we can find the best place for the PICC.)
- We’ll escort your child to the Interventional Radiology room. This area is a sterile environment, so you’ll wait in a nearby room during the procedure. A Children’s Colorado child life specialist stays with your child the whole time.
Place the PICC line
- We thoroughly clean your child’s arm.
- We use high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to find the best vein for PICC placement.
- An interventional radiology doctor views your child’s veins on a monitor, using special X-ray images (fluoroscopy) that show movement in real time.
- The doctor uses these images to help guide the line through the body into your child’s chest. The tip of the PICC will rest in the large vein that carries blood into your child’s heart.
- When the procedure is over, we’ll come get you so you can join your child.
What to expect after pediatric PICC line placement
- Depending on your child’s condition, the PICC line may stay in your child’s body for a few months.
- Your child’s doctor will talk with you about the treatment plan and next steps.
If you have any questions and/or concerns, call the ParentSmart Healthline toll free at 1-855-KID-INFO (543-4636). Caring pediatric nurses are available 24/7 to help answer your health questions.
Why choose us for pediatric PICC line placement
Children’s Colorado is a comprehensive pediatric hospital, so our team specializes in kids’ unique medical needs. We offer:
- Expertise: Our skilled Imaging Services team cares for thousands of children across Colorado. We have the training and experience to place your child’s PICC line.
- Specialization: A highly trained interventional radiologist performs your child’s procedure.
- Child-friendly equipment and team: We use child-sized X-ray machines and catheters to provide a safer, more comfortable experience. Our child life specialists are here to provide age-appropriate support before and during the procedure.
- Advanced technology: We use fluoroscopy (moving X-rays) to create accurate images of your child’s body. Seeing these images on a screen helps your child’s doctor safely guide the PICC line where it needs to go.
- Convenience: We offer radiology, imaging and testing at several of our locations throughout Colorado. You can filter by specialty service, city or zip code to find the test you need closest to home.
Learn more and schedule a PICC line placement
For more information or to schedule a PICC placement, contact Children’s Colorado Interventional Radiology at 720-777-8671 or the general radiology scheduling line at 720-777-6541.