PICC Lines for IBD

They say IBD is just a bathroom disease…..¬†Well, you and I know different! It’s not a bathroom disease. In fact, I’d argue that the bathroom was only a small part of the disease. What most of the world doesn’t understand about Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis is that needing to be fed by TPN ( Total Parenteral Nutrition ) is very real and happens to many living with this disease.

But how does one get fed by TPN? TPN is done through a PICC line. Ok… But what’s a PICC line?

A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC or PIC line) is a form of intravenous access that can be used for a prolonged period of time (e.g. for long chemotherapy regimens, extended antibiotic therapy, or total parenteral nutrition). ~ Source Wikipedia

The following video shows how a PICC line is inserted into the body. The video was made by Genetic Disorders UK. I will warn you though that the video is a little graphical, so if you’re squeamish at the site of blood, this might not be the video for you.

Special thanks to Meg Johnson of The Front Butt YouTuber for providing this video. I’d also invite you to read Marisa Lauren Troy’s article on JournalingIBD.org, Picc Lines and Central Lines to get an even better understanding of how and why they are used.


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  • BrightonWahine

    I had a PICC line for both of my hospitalizations since being diagnosed with UC in 2008. As you can see from the video, getting a nurse who has this process down and is good at it, is important too. I had a sausage-fingered, male nurse the first time I had this catheter inserted and he made 2 exasperated attempts before sweating it out for the third and final go round. It didn’t really hurt, but was making me completely anxious and nervous that he would puncture something or scar up my arm.f

    It’s relatively painless, allows your bowel to completely rest for the allotted time AND is also a fast lane for pain meds, (you’ll need to be kind of out of it because you’re not going to want to obsess about not eating anything but the occasional ice chip for 2-3 weeks)solumedrol or whatever pred med they dose you with and drawing blood for labs.