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PICC lines

A PICC line is a long, thin, flexible tube, which is threaded through a vein in the upper arm with the tip ending in a large blood vessel. The line is flexible and strong, and can stay in place for many weeks or months.  

The PICC may be stitched or taped in place, and covered with a clear dressing. You will need to have a nurse redress it every week to make sure it is kept clean. The PICC is covered with a bandage at all times to prevent accidental removal.  

Contact sports and activities

Contact sports and activities that could dislodge or damage the line should not be undertaken. Swimming is not allowed as the PICC must stay dry at all times. Do not use sharp implements such as scissors or power tools near the line.


Some patients will have a permanent port implanted under the skin to enable administration of intravenous medication. When the port is not being used for medication, all that can be seen is a slight bulge under the skin in the chest wall. 

When medication is administered, a 90 degree angle needle is inserted through the skin into the port. The needle stays in for up to two to four weeks while the medication is administered.

A special dressing is applied over the needle to keep it securely in place and to prevent infection. 

Contact sports and activities

If you have a port, you cannot play contact sports, and, if the needle is in place, you must not go swimming. If there is no needle you can participate in all other activities. Falling directly onto a port can cause skin or bone injury.

Peripheral Intravenous Device (PIVD) or IV cannulaPeripheral Intravenous Device (PIVD) or IV cannula

A PIVD or IV cannula is a short plastic tube inserted into a small vein usually in the arm. They are used for patients who are in hospital who require short term intravenous access. An arm board may be used as a splint to stop it from getting damaged by lots of movement. It is taped to the skin and covered with a clear dressing. The PIVD or IV cannula is changed every 2 to 3 days to make sure it doesn’t get infected.

Contact sports and activities 

Patients with a PIVD or IV cannula cannot play contact sports or swim, but can participate in all other activities that do not threaten to dislodge the device, very rarely would you be sent home with a PIVD or IV cannula – they are usually removed in hospital.