Should you get a central line for chemotherapy?

Many cancer patients will receive chemotherapy infusions as a part of their cancer treatment. Sometimes, chemotherapy is delivered safely through a standard (or “peripheral”) IV line. Other times, infusions must be administered through a central line catheter, such as a PICC, CVC or port. How do these options differ? And which one is right for you? We spoke with Tam Huynh, M.D., chief of Vascular Surgery at MD Anderson, to learn more. What are the differences between an IV, a port and a central line?  A peripheral IV line (PIV, or just “IV”) is a short catheter that’s typically placed in the forearm. It starts and ends in the arm itself. A PICC line is a longer catheter that’s also placed in the upper arm. Its tip ends in the largest vein of the body, which is why it’s considered a central line. PICC stands for "peripherally inserted central-line catheter.” A CVC is identical to a PICC line, except it’s placed in the chest or neck. CVC stands for “central venous catheter.” A port is a catheter that’s implanted surgically under the skin on the chest. It’s another type of central line. Which one should I get? It depends on the type of chemotherapy you need and the time required to administer it. A PIV can be left in place for up to four days and can only be used with certain types of chemotherapy (those that don’t cause irritation or blistering, which can damage veins). A PICC line can be left in place for weeks or months, but must be kept dry at all times (even when showering)....