A Hickman® line is a long-term intravenous catheter. The Hickman® line catheter is a hollow flexible tube made of soft rubber-like material. Prior to beginning your treatment, a Hickman® line will be inserted. It is a special intravenous device that can be used for drawing blood, infusing chemotherapy, antibiotics, blood products and other medications. You will have your Hickman® line in place for several weeks during your treatment and recovery periods. If needed, it can be kept for many months.
The Procedure - What to Expect
The Hickman® line is inserted in the “Cath Lab” or sometimes in the operating room, usually under local anesthetic. You may be given some medications to help you relax before the procedure begins. A vascular surgeon will insert your catheter into a large vein in your chest. The insertion procedure takes about an hour. You will be required to stay an additional 2 hours in the BMT Outpatient Day Care Unit for monitoring. It is important that you have someone available to take you home afterwards because you will be tired and may feel some of the side effects of the sedation.
Because of the importance of the Hickman® line and to prevent infection, you will be taught to care for it while you are in hospital. You can also refer to the Hickman® Line Self-Care Instructional Videos and instructions on this website - Resources > Hickman® Line Care.
Removal of the Hickman® Line
When the Hickman® line is no longer needed, it is removed. Removal of the line is a simple procedure that may be done during a routine visit to the BMT Outpatient Day Care Unit and does not require local anaesthetic or sedation.