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Exercise with a PICC

 I have a patient that is a retired pro baseball player and is very used to working out.  He had
a compound fracture with an external fixator placed about 45 days ago. Had complications,developed an infection and is
going to have a much protracted recovery with multiple upcoming surgeries.
Finally, the question: he has a PICC and is wanting to exercise his upper
body. Any ideas? I've been quite hardline with PT thus far because the
ultimate goal is to heal and get back to life as he knew it. Anything
anyone can suggest would be appreciated! Thanks.

Repetitive, strenuous

Repetitive, strenuous physical activity with the arm containing a PICC is never recommended.  This will increase the muscle pump action, the action that normally moves blood back to the heart. This can lead to catheter dislodgment and catheter compression. Dislodgement will alter the tip location and compression can lead to occlusion. Also, there can be increased risk of thrombophlebitis because the muscle pump action brings the vein wall into frequent contact with the catheter. Activities of daily living is really all that a patient should do while they have a PICC. If physical activity must be done, then a PICC is not the best catheter for that patient. 

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., RN, BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway, M.Ed., NPD-BC, CRNI

Lynn Hadaway Associates, Inc.

PO Box 10

Milner, GA 30257


Office Phone 770-358-7861

Heather Nichols
   What Lynn says is

   What Lynn says is absolutely true, but I have had three PICC's in the past, so my experience is sort of like "on the job experience".  My first one, I was too sick to be active, but my last two, I was very active.  I worked out (not extremely hard) at the gym, rode my horse twice a day (probably more strenuous then working out since I was competing), and worked full time.  I had no problem with any of my PICC's.  Of course, I am a nurse, and therefore knew what problems to look for, but I think with good education, and proper tip placement, this guy could stay active. 


Gwen Irwin
We have also had problems

We have also had problems with the PICC tip spontaneously malpositioning in patients that exercised their upper body.  Of course, this was noted in the hospital with chest xrays of patients that were paraplegic.  Who knows what happens when the patient is discharged.

Gwen Irwin

Austin, Texas

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