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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » PICC Line Patients - Ok To Do Weekly Blood Draws From PICC Line?

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Author Topic: PICC Line Patients - Ok To Do Weekly Blood Draws From PICC Line?
FuzzySlippers
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Hi Everyone,

I'm interested in hearing from those with PICC line experience on whether you had your weekly blood draws taken from your PICC line . . .

or, did you have the blood draw taken from your free arm?

I was wondering if doing the blood draws from the free arm rather than the PICC line would help reduce wear and tear on the PICC line. Maybe help in reducing the chances of fibrin or clots building up in the line.

I also was wondering whether doing the weekly draws from the PICC line might cause it to degrade quicker.

My home health nurse tells me that it's not a problem doing the draws from the line. But I'd like to hear from Lyme patients. We all know that with Lymies, all kinds of things (complications) happen that don't tend to happen with other patients.

I might be misremembering, but I thought I read at one time that PICC line Lyme patients found from experience that it's better to use the free arm for weekly blood draws?


Thanks in advance!

Fuzzy

Posts: 503 | From Maryland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sammy
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I use the free arm for my routine blood work. If I had the option, I would prefer to use my PICC line.

Using my PICC is not an option though because I have my blood drawn at Labcorp (I do not have a home health care nurse). Phlebotomists are not allowed to draw from PICC lines. It's a bummer.

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Deb
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Hi Fuzzy,

I have had my picc line for the last thirteen months. My home nurse does blood draws via the picc line twice monthly; the first six months or so it was weekly. We have not found this to be a problem. The paper work from the hospital that installed my picc line, states that my picc line is suitable for blood draws.

Why bother making frequent trips to the lab if you don't need to? Another positive of having your nurse draw the blood via the picc line is that the nursing company can then track your test results also, especially in the event your doctor's office is slow to get around to doing so.

Wishing you all the best,
Debbie

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keltyl
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Mine are done every 2 weeks from my picc, while I still have a home health care nurse. After my visits run out I'll probably have to go to a lab and get it drawn from my arm.
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Abxnomore
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FuzzySlippers You are correct. It is better to draw from the free arm. Using the picc to draw blood could and will reduce the time your picc will be viable.

It puts wear and tear on it plain and simple. I forget the medical term but blood can leave behind stuff that adheres to the inside of the picc that can eventually cause it to get clogged and not function and the you will have to have a new one put in......no fun!

There is no reason why a home nurse cannot draw blood separately from the other arm, unless she is lazy.

I've heard this a lot lately that their home nurse says it is Okay. I was always under strict orders from my LLMD never to have blood drawn from the picc. I think it's a wise precaution.

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luvdogs
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Yes, I was told the same as abxnomore. My doctors warned me that the home health co was going to push for using the picc line to draw the blood, but not to let them.
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FuzzySlippers
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I can't thank you all enough for you input!

Yes, I do kinda feel like I've been pressured by the home health nurse into doing the weekly blood draws from the PICC. I knew he wanted to do it that way because it would be easier for him.

It just seemed to me that whenever we have blood products going into the line or coming out of it, that it would increase the chance of fibrin build-up and/or clotting. Even with careful flushing of the line.


I've only had my line in about 3 1/2 weeks. For the first blood draw I made him use my free arm. He was rather surprised at my request. The last two blood draws he claimed not to be able to find a good vein in the free arm -- he also didn't have that arm tourniquetted tight enough! I was feeling so weak and ill I relented and let him use the PICC line arm.

Today, during the blood draw (from the PICC), he tells me that I"m getting a little bit of fibrin building up at the tip or end of the line. The blood draw went just fine though -- no blockage. He said nothing needed to be done about this right now. I'm not going to take his word for it, I'm gonna check with my LLMD.

I see my LLMD in another day and I'll get this sorted out with him.

It was great hearing everyone's experiences. Thank you so much. To be honest, I wasn't sure whether I was being an unnecessary nervous nelly about the blood draws from the line or not. lol

I did a very brief web search. I'd have to spend more time looking further to find out more. But I did find something .... Even though it is just a Wiki Answers entry with no sources for verification, and it is referencing TPN IV use, I thought the entry might be good information. That's assuming it can be confirmed, that is.

I thought the comment about the reliability of the blood results was interesting. I've also come across some entries that state that blood draws to determine coagulation status in the bloodstream should not be taken from the PICC because of the any leftover stuff from the IV meds, saline and heparin flushes that can adhere to the line.

From that Wiki entry I referenced:

Can you draw blood from the double-lumen picc line which is used primarily for TPN?

Answer: Usually you do not draw blood from a line that is running TPN due to the concentrated electrolytes contained in the solution.

If there is no other option the MD must be aware that the sample is taken from a TPN line so he/she can adjust the findings

ANOTHER VIEW:

PICC lines and other central access devices were not designed to have blood drawn from them for Lab tests. Specimen contamination is a serious problem for Lab whether the specimen is drawn from a single or double lumen PICCs.

Even if the other lumen's infusion is shut off, the vacuum created in the lumen where blood is being drawn can cause contamination of the specimen. Often, even if the lumen is flushed properly and there is no contamination, the specimen may be hemolysed or clotted, making it useless for lab testing.

In general, Lab will not report out results that they suspect are erroneous. This is because a Lab tech or physician cannot simply "adjust" findings due to an improperly collected specimen. This would be guesswork and is unacceptable in a health care setting where treatment often depends on reliable Lab results.

Bottom line: check your facilities' policies and procedures regarding the use of PICCs and other central access devices for blood collection.


Anyway, thanks again y'all. I really appreciate all your help!

Fuzzy

Posts: 503 | From Maryland | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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