A support group for everything about chemotherapy, being treated and side effects. Tell others about your experiences and get answers to your questions.

IVE chemo + hickman line

Posted by
I'm getting a hickman line inserted next week and was wondering whether anyone had any handy hints for looking after it - keep imagining it getting pulled out or bits of fluff stuck in it.

Also doc is talking about IVE chemo regimen which isn't mentioned on cancerbackup site - anyone had it? I know we all react differently (I got through 8 rounds of R-Chop relatively unscathed) are the potential side effects similar to the chemo I've already had? I'm seeing doc next week - should I be asking about anything in particular? It's not like I'm going to turn the treatment down - I just want to give myself every chance of getting through it as 'easily' as possible...
Posted by
Hi there

I had chemo using a hickman line.

The first thing I will mention is that it is quite common to get infections in the hickman line (so don't panic if you do!) The hospital will keep a close eye on it. They can give you antibiotics to clear up infections.

I ended up with having three, the first was removed because it stopped working and the second because of an infection, the third I had no problems with.

If they offer sedation to have it put in, I would recommend that you accept, the third one I had fitted without sedation and it was rather uncomfortable while they did it. They will stitch it in place until it heals. The first stitches come out after a week and the second set of stitches come after 2 weeks.

While the line is in, you will have a dressing over it which the hospital will re-dress regularly.

The line takes a bit of getting used to and you will be a bit bruised for a while, but once you get used to it, it is fine and a lot let hassle for taking blood.

Because you will have a dressing over it and they loop it, you shouldn't have problems with it pulling or catching. I bought some vests from M&S that have a sort of bra insert in them and found these great to stuff the line in so it didn't dangle!

If I can help any more, please get in touch.

Good luck with it all.

Posted by
he said it would be a local anaesthetic but didn't mention stitches - how thick is this thing?!? He didn't mention M&S vests either - I'll go and have a look :) I know he'll go into more detail next week but it's useful to have things to ask about in advance - I'm sure I'll be back to you once it's in as well - thanks again
Posted by
I had a hickman put in 4 1/2 weeks ago, and it's the best thing i've done!

I'm a wimp, and normally ask for sedation, but they just used local for this - the local stung, and the rest just felt like tugging a bit!
Not painful at all! The worst bit was I had a stiff neck for about 2 days, but that soon wore off.
I've not had an infection in it (yet), and I just go on normally with it!
I had the stitch out a week and a half ago, and it's been fine - not sore at all.

It seems only some hospitals keep it under a dressing....I'm under the Christie hospital, and they say just keep it taped up with surgical tape, but no dressing. The only time I dress it is if I want a bath. (it's fine to leave open in the shower)

Its taped up in a loop, then I let it 'dangle' down the middle of my breasts.
I don't wear bra's (never have done - small boobs!), and haven't bought anything else - I just use a piece of tape just above the clamp - whch I think is the worse thing.

I sometimes wrap a piece of cotton wool around the clamp and secure it with tape cos it can rub (I sleep on my front).

I was worried as there was a scab, and it was pink, but my district nurse said the scab would fall off, and the pink is new tissue growth - the scab did fall off 2 days later!

Any more questions, feel free to ask! :)
Posted by
well getting it in sounds alright! Good that you haven't had any bother with it. If I let mine 'dangle' I'm going to look like a some kind of morphed dalek (not so small boobs,haha). Nobody mentioned scabs either - so much to look forward to!
cheers again
Posted by

I had a Hickman line in place for many months and had no trouble with it whatsoever. The chemo nurses changed the dressing (quite painless!) and the district nurse flushed it through regularly for me, to prevent blockage. What a godsend - no more needles!

I had a local anathestic to originally insert the line which feels like a stinging sensation but apart from a weird feeling of tugging and prodding the whole process was painless and not much of an ordeal at all. I had a bum bag to carry it around which worked well. My fear that it would be torn from my body never materialised!! I got quite fond of it after a couple of months.

Good luck and I hope all goes well for you. xx
Posted by
Best thing I ever had done, I had chemo, anti sickness and other drugs put through mine and bloods taken, my veins were shot and no more needles. Mine didn't get infected. Wonerful thing . I have finished treatment so mine has been removed. You will be shown how to care for it......................Take care...........Love Carol
Posted by
it sounds straightforward enough! Still trying to work out how I'm going to sleep - I sort of end up on my front but some nights there's alot of manouevring to get there,lol...
Posted by
I was a bit worried about sleeping, as I tend to sleep on my front, but move around a lot!
If it's dressed, easy peasy - no problem!

If not, just make sure it's taped securely with surgical tape, and honestly, it doesn't move!

If I had a cleavage, thats where the dangly bit would hang!
Posted by
thanks, Hevvur
Posted by


Just seen your post re Hickman Line. Do hope it went ok for you? I had one 5/6 weeks ago and no prob with infections etc so far but had severe pain around the channelle under the skin area! Doctors had never seen it before, no infection, line working ok and in right postion. So. I felt a fraud but am not a wimp .

However, had heavy pain killers to help and it is now 80% improved and haeding in the right direction!

Hope all is well with yours and your treatment.

Love Susan x