PICC line trouble!

Nothing is ever simple is it?

I decided to have a PICC line fitted to save my veins and to stop being constantly stabbed with a needle, so I had my PICC line fitted 2 weeks ago via ultrasound.

Friends who have them, have said how easy they are to get bloods from and of of course to administer chemo. One friend said she barely knows it's there and feels like it's part of her body. Unfortunately I never felt that.

My PICC line never settled and it began to feel very sore and uncomfortable. I couldn't stretch my arm fully and found myself using my right arm more and more, as stretching and reaching for things with my PICC arm began to feel worse and worse. Even getting dressed was a problem.

When I went for it to be flushed and dressing change, I mentioned this to the nurse. She called a colleague over who has had training in PICC lines. She examined it and thought my arm looked swollen (I didn't think it was) but she was concerned enough to send me for an ultrasound on my arm, as they can often cause blood clots. 

I was duly taken by a porter to the ultrasound department and spent 20 minutes with a very handsome sonographer. He struggled to look properly at my whole arm as couldn't press on the bit where the PICC was. However he concluded that he didn't think there was a clot but that part of the line was sat in a portion of vein that was very narrow and he was worried that there could possibly be a clot in the future.

I then went to the AEC (Ambulatory Emergency Care Unit) where the decision was taken to remove the line as they couldn't 100% guarantee there wasn't a clot. So it was duly removed. I was injected with a blood thinner and given another on to do at home the following day (they bloomin sting)

Ive since been back to have my arm re-scanned, and they confirmed there was no clot.

So now chemo will be administered via cannula. I have 10 more chemos and 10 more blood to be taken which is 20 more times to be stabbed with a needle. It may be that a second attempt at a PICC line may be done if my veins begin to fail.

My arm is still a bit bruised and sore and I'm glad to shower easily. 

Anonymous
  • Oh gosh, I hope your veins survive. I managed 5 sessions of chemo via cannula in the left hand and then they had to use the right.   Good luck x

  • I'm not looking forward to having a cannula again on Tuesday. I then have 9 paclitaxel after that so 10 more chemos. Don't think they can use my right arm as I've had lymph nodes out ( only 3 but I'm not sure whether they can use it).

    I could have a Hickman port in but I know that's a bit more invasive as it's done under general anaesthetic - not my decision though it would have to come from a dr. 

    My arm is still very stiff and sore so it definitely was right to take it out.