PICC line from hell—questions about maintaining

From: Becca

Date: 8/20/2004

Time: 11:37:15 AM

Remote Name:


Hi everyone,

I hope that I’ll be able to describe this clearly. I had a Vaxel 5 French PICC line (double lumen) for 8 months. The PICC line itself had a one way valve so that nothing from the outside could get in the line unless it was pushed in by a syringe. (In other words, no "gunk".) There were caps on the end of each lumen that were changed after every blood draw/transfusion (or once a week if the lumen wasn’t used that week.) It held up really well, but I had to have it pulled this past week because of an infection. I had a new line placed yesterday.

I asked for the same type of line and was told "OK", but I woke up from the procedure with a different one. This one does not have a valve in the actual PICC line, so anything from the outside can just get in. Instead of caps, there are "claves" on the end of each lumen. There is a valve in each clave, but the end of the clave isn’t covered and is totally exposed to the outside. So far, I’ve been told that the claves have to be changed never, once a week, once every three days, and after every use. Which one is it?! Furthermore, my neutrophil count is below 200, and I’m really nervous about bugs from the outside getting into the line and causing an infection. People have told me to "just pinch the line" when the claves are being changed. I have literally asked everyone I can in this hospital and don’t know what else to do. I feel like if I could find a cap that would fit on the end of each clave without engaging the valve, (ie, a cap without a male end) that would solve some of the problems. But no one here knows of such a cap. If anyone has had experience with a similar PICC line, I would really appreciate some information. Thanks!