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How to Flush Your Central Line and Change the Cap


What is a Hickman or PICC catheter?

A Hickman catheter is a small, soft tube inserted in your neck or chest with several channels (called lumens) on the ends. Several inches of the catheter are outside your skin. A Hickman catheter is used for taking and giving blood, and giving medicines that need a larger vein (such as chemotherapy), and other fluids. Patients who receive stem cell transplants often have a Hickman catheter.

A PICC catheter is a small, soft tube inserted in your arm. A PICC can also have several lumens which are outside your skin.

 

Flushing your catheter

Both lumens of your Hickman catheter, and the one lumen in your PICC catheter, need to be flushed once a day with a solution called Heparin, which prevents clotting. You can follow the same steps for either a Hickman or PICC line. For this procedure you do not need to wear gloves, but your hands must be very sterile.

Changing the cap on your Hickman or PICC catheter

The cap on the end of each lumen of your catheter needs to be changed once a week. The steps are the same for a Hickman or PICC line. For this procedure you do not need to wear gloves, but your hands must be very sterile.

See additional information and instructions on caring for your Hickman or PICC catheter.


 
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