Frequently Asked Questions

Why does it matter what type of vascular access device my patient has?

When infusion therapy is ordered, it is important to assess the vascular access needs of your patient. Some IV medications are caustic to the veins and require central access. Key factors in determining the appropriate device is duration of IV therapy, type of drug ordered, and the vascular integrity of the patient’s vessels. A vascular access specialist may be required to use ultrasound to further evaluate the vessel.

What is a PICC line?

A PICC line stands for a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter. A PICC line is defined as a long IV that is inserted with ultrasound guidance in the upper arm and threaded to the superior vena cava, a large vessel by the heart, where the tip of the PICC line ends in your central circulation. The PICC line does not go into your heart or harm it in anyway. You may also have your blood drawn through the PICC line to eliminate further needle pokes during the duration of the infusion therapy.

What is a Midline?

A Midline is placed with ultrasound guidance in the upper arm and threaded so the tip ends prior to the mid axillary branch or if placed in the forearm the tip ends prior to the antecubital or bend of your arm. REMEMBER a Midline cannot be used for all types of IV medications and you will not always be able to draw blood work from a Midline.

What is ECG technology?

ECG technology is on the stylet that in threaded through the PICC line on insertion. As the PICC tip passes into the lower part of the Superior Vena Cava you will see a spike in the p-wave and will reach max P-Wave. As the PICC tip passes past the Cavo-Atrial Junction you will note a deflection prior to the p-wave. The PICC tip is then pulled back until the deflection disappears. The images is printed and placed in the patient’s chart stating PICC tip was confirmed in the SVC by ECG technology.

Is there such a thing as a STAT PICC Line?

……There should never be such a thing as a STAT PICC line…. However, there is an urgency for patient to have secure IV access. As healthcare providers, it is our job to determine the appropriate type of vascular access to initiate the infusion therapy and eliminate a delay. Depending on the medical history and reason for admission, a PICC line may be the best option.


Advocate for yourself, your loved ones, and your patients to make sure the right type of vascular access is used to provide the infusion therapy and eliminate a delay.