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NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms


peripherally inserted central catheter  listen  (peh-RIH-feh-ruh-lee in-SER-ted SEN-trul KA-theh-ter)

  A thin, flexible tube that is inserted into a vein in the upper arm and guided (threaded) into a large vein near the heart called the vena cava. It is used to give intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, and chemotherapy and other drugs, and for taking blood samples. It avoids the need for repeated needle sticks. It is a type of central venous access device. Also called PICC.