Peripherally inserted central catheter lines, or PICC lines, can be ordered online at retailers such as Moore Medical, Arrow International and Angiodynamics. However, as of March 2015, federal law restricts the sale of PICC lines to physicians and those with a physician's prescription, warns Angiodynamics.
PICC lines are used to deliver drugs and certain forms of nutrition through the veins, reports Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology. The devices are inserted through peripheral veins and gently guided to the superior vena cava, a large vein near the heart. PICC line insertion is carried out by specially trained nurses or interventional radiologists.
There are several varieties of PICC lines, explains DIC. Power-injectable PICC lines are designed to withstand the considerable pressure generated by pumping special dyes into the body; these enhance visualization of tissue during computed tomography. For this reason, power-injectable PICC lines are made from polyurethane, a material much tougher than the silicone used to manufacture standard IPCC lines.
Valved IPCC lines have a valve that protects the system from debris and other material that can potentially cause blockages, infections and other complications, while antimicrobial PICC lines are coated with antibacterial formulations, according to DIC. Another type of PICC line is still under development as of March 2015: tunneled PICC lines. In keeping with their name, they can be tunneled under the skin, making insertion easier.