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Caring for Your Central Line

Maine Medical Center is committed to helping you care for your central line. Your central line may be called one of the following: PICC (pronounced pick), Broviac, Hickman, Implanted Port (or Port-a-Cath), or a tunneled line/catheter.

Having a central line helps to make sure you get the treatment you need as prescribed by your healthcare providers. You can receive medications and fluids directly into your bloodstream through your central line. But having a central line can be risky. It is important that you are aware of the risks, signs of complications, how to care for your central line, and who to notify with concerns.

Why is This Important?

Central line infections are very serious. Knowing the proper care of your central line will help prevent complications.

The videos available are to remind you, your family, and your health care team how line care should occur. They provide demonstrations and are not meant to provide complete instructions for independent care of your central line. Should you have additional questions, contact your healthcare provider. There are 5 videos available for you to view.

Video: Caring for Your Central Venous Lines

If anyone, including a health care provider, is not caring for your line properly, it’s important for you to speak up. By saying something, you increase communication with your health care provider, while hopefully decreasing your own concerns and risk for complications.

When Should You Call Your Doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • The flow into your line is slower than usual
  • Fever over 100.5 F (38.0 C) or chills
  • Redness, swelling, pain, or drainage at your line
  • Rash following medication administration, or in the area around your line
  • Cough or sore throat
  • Diarrhea more than 3 times a day
  • Frequency or burning with urination