Tunneled PICC Non-Hemodialysis Catheter Management

Your tunneled PICC is a tube placed in a vein in your neck. It has two chambers to allow a two-way flow of blood.

The tip of the catheter sits in the largest vein in the body, just above the heart. The catheter leaves the skin at an exit site located in the neck or below the collarbone.

Tips for Caring for Your Tunneled PICC

  • During the catheter placement procedure, your doctor placed stitches in your neck and at the exit site. Your nurse will remove the stitches holding the tunneled PICC in place after 21 days.
  • Protect your tunneled PICC at all times. Never put tension on the catheter.
  • Do not get the tunneled PICC bandage wet. It could cause an infection at the catheter exit site or in your blood. Take sponge baths or use a hand-held shower tool for the first week after receiving your catheter. After the first week, you may shower, but cover the bandage with plastic wrap first and seal the edges with tape. Water must not get into the bandaged area.
  • Your nurse will change your PICC bandage in once a week or when needed. You always will need to keep a bandage on the PICC exit site.
  • If the bandage loosens at home, tape it down. Then call your nurse to receive a new one.
  • Be careful when getting dressed. Your catheter can easily get caught on clothing.
  • Make sure your catheter clamps are fastened and the end caps are on tightly.

When to Call Your Doctor for Tunneled PICC Problems

If You Have Questions or Problems with the Following, Call Your Provider:

  • Fever greater than
  • 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Shaking chills
  • Yellow drainage from the neck or chest sites
  • Too much bleeding or redness at the catheter exit site
  • Severe pain

It is OK to see some blood on your bandage in the days following catheter placement. If the bandage is soaked with blood, call your provider. If you can’t control the bleeding and it is leaking from under the bandage, put pressure on the exit site and go to your closest emergency room.

If the tunneled PICC tube is slipping out from the exit site, but is not all the way out, tape it down securely and call provider. Go to an emergency room if unable to contact provider. If the catheter falls fully out, put firm pressure on the site with a gauze bandage and go to an emergency room.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO