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Arm pain picc line (Page 2)

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August 15th, 2011
Having had a picc line myself and with the same sort of pain and chest issues, I have some suggestions. Maybe they will be helpful? Maybe not, but they worked for me.

First off, if you currently have a picc line, make sure you remove all air from your syringes and even let the medicine flow to the end of the line before you connect it to the antibiotics. The amount of air that can kill you is like half a syringe, but I seriously believe that ANY air causes discomfort. The doctors will likely tell you this is crazy, but I swear that when my husband and I started making sure there wasn't any air going in, not even a little, my chest pain was eased up.

Next, as for the arm, shoulder, etc. pain (picc in or out), several things could be causing this. First the obvious, overuse and need for rest. Also, your veins, I was told by a nurse, are similar to muscles and can have spasms. Either way, try heating pads or even better are those sport sacks filled with rice that you heat in the microwave. This, with motrin every six hours (600mg works well) for like 24-48 hours may rid you of the pain if it is due to inflammation or spasms. This will help if this is your case.

In the event that you are dealing with small blood clots that aren't big enough for your doctor to take seriously, get some vitamin E (make sure it won't mess with any of your current medications). Clinical studies have shown that vitamin E can be a better blood thinner than many of the prescribed medications out there. In fact, when on those medications, you aren't allowed to take vitamin E typically.

Hopefully, one of these will help. I know how awful those picc lines can hurt, and it stinks when you're doctor looks at you like you're being a hypochondriac or something. Mine actually told me that it was impossible to feel pain because veins have no nerves. I wanted to smack him. Fortunately the above did work for me. I really hope you have success as well.
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replied December 4th, 2011
Re: PICC LINE PAIN
NurseAmy85 wrote:
I am a nurse, AND I have had multiple PICCs in the past because of Cystic Fibrosis. They have always worked well for me. Some pain and discomfort is normal after the Lidocaine wears off after insertion. The PICC nurse was pushing a large catheter up your arm, it makes sense that it would be sore. It is also normal to have some discomfort in the arm after removal of the PICC. If you notice swelling, contact your doctor. It is probably due to a thrombus that formed because of the foreign body (PICC catheter) being in your arm. Blood thinners can help with this. In response to the retired nurse above: Central lines have come a long way over the years and often times are indeed the best option. Especially for people who must have IV therapy for a sustained amount of time, or for those who have bad veins due to frequent venipunctures.
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replied December 26th, 2011
Me too!
I had a PICC line inserted into my left arm back in NOV 2011 facilitate Chemo treatment. Just before they withdrew it 10 days later I noticed swelling of the hand, wrist and arm and pain in my shoulder and neck.
I mentioned it to my doctors and they put me in for an ultrasound where some blood clotting was detected and for which they put me on self-administered Claxane injections in the stomach, 100 units twice daily.
It is now weeks later (27 DEC) and my hand, wrist and arm are just as swollen has they have been at their worst. This is getting very old...however it is a little comforting to know I'm not alone in this.
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replied March 4th, 2012
Complications of PICC line
I had many complications from the attempts to get a PICC line inserted after surgery. I have unusually small veins and their orientation and number of veins are different than the normal. So first attempt bruised, second attempt hit nerve and caused damage, third attempt caused a large clot the size of a 50 cent piece. They removed it of course because the swelling was horrible and then the ultra sound revealed the clot. They then went into the right side.. Failed twice, caused more bruising and then success on the third try. The next day my harm was hot, red and sore the vein holding the PICC line was hardening all the way into my arm pit and extremely sore. Ultra sound and x-ray showed no clot and it was in proper placement. They left it in until the day before discharge, 9 days total. The day before discharge the PICC line clogged and would not clear so they removed it a day early. I now have arm pain in the left, warmth and site pain in the area of the clot and warmth and erratic chest pain in the left side near my heart. All tests show no major heart or lung complications. The right side healed well and the lump (hardened vein) took six days to completely go back to normal. I am still concerned since I am on coumadin and have light headed spells, heart palpation's and warmth flushed through my left arm and left side of chest. My left hand also shakes often.
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replied April 8th, 2012
I had a picc line put in for vancomycin here about 6 months ago. Im 20 years old. I have had 3 piccs before, first 2 went fine (they were done by nurses) most recent was done by a surgeon and was the worse pain i ever felt from a picc (first 2 i felt nothing) he hit a nerve and it felt like a thousand bees were stinging my hand..I got released and the next day they called me back for a new xray because my xrays were questionable. They sent me home and i heard nothing else of it. 2 days later I was lying on my left side and went to flush my picc (no idea what got into me to decide to lay down and do it) when i started flushing it i all of a sudden started getting heart palpitations. I called my nurse and she said to have someone drive me to the ER to get it checked out, well before i could get dressed my left ear started ringing and i felt like i was going to pass out so my s/o called 911. Mind you i have a pretty bad anxiety disorder and was scared out of my mind, by the time i got into the ambulance my heart rate was skyrocketing. it topped out at 288, and i was still completely conscience. They shocked me once to see if it would slow it down but it did nothing. It would drop to 160, but then skyrocket again and i felt extremely light headed but never passed out. In the ER they tried several medications but never could get it dropped below 160. They took an xray of my picc and the doctor claims the picc was fine and they continued to use it. finally once i was admitted into the icu the doctor finally gave the nurse permission to back it up a little bit (the nurse was scared to even use it and wouldnt, another nurse had to.) Id say it was around 11 at night when they finally backed it up..I didnt finally get to sleep until around 4 because the pain was so bad, when i woke up and my heart rate was finally back down in the 90s. No further heart rate issues. but i now have constant chest pain, they keep medicating it and medicating it with stuff that makes me feel worse. I refuse to even take my heart meds, my heart rate is fine. They just make me feel even worse. I have constant left arm pain, a huge lump where the picc was entered and ringing in the ears. Also when i move I can hear a gushing sound in my veins, especially when stepping down. Im constantly in the ER thinking im having a heart attack..Ive finally learned to live with the pain. Test after test, my heart seems fine..yet they still keep medicating me with medication. I've had numerous ekgs, stress tests, echos etc..everything came back normal. Dr keeps blowing off the gushing sound, I know its not normal..and blames the heart rate instance on phenteramine (weight loss drug). I have family history of heart problems, and it scares me to be going through this but I firmly believe the picc caused the issue.
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replied November 13th, 2012
PICC line
Your story is incredible...wish I could talk with u more about your situation...I have a PICC with an occluded vein since June and all they do is prescribe blood thinners and nothing is resolving and now almost 6 months later want to reinsert new PICC line in my other arm. Extremely nervous and feel totally mismanaged...my PCP prescribes medications for the PICC line but knows nothing about managing a PICC line and interventional radiology has no problem putting in a new line but then I'm left in limbo managing my own PICC line care...looking for any advice or suggestions....
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replied August 13th, 2012
PICC Lines
I just want to say ya'lls comments are very helpful. I literally wanna die, i am having such severe pain in my head, chest and neck and no one is listening. They removed the first one in my right arm after 3 days because of lymph drainage which they say is very rare. But even with the new one, for almost a week now, i feel like i am having a severe anxiety attack or heart attack and I can't take it. As far as the negativity, any procedure no matter how invasive or non-invasive can cause anyone problems. It's just important to pay attention to your own body and be persistant with medical staff when you think something is wrong. I am wishing they had put a TACC line the second time though as my doctor requested. Good luck to all and thanks.
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replied August 13th, 2012
I just want to say ya'lls comments are very helpful. I literally wanna die, i am having such severe pain in my head, chest and neck and no one is listening. They removed the first one in my right arm after 3 days because of lymph drainage which they say is very rare. But even with the new one, for almost a week now, i feel like i am having a severe anxiety attack or heart attack and I can't take it. As far as the negativity, any procedure no matter how invasive or non-invasive can cause anyone problems. It's just important to pay attention to your own body and be persistant with medical staff when you think something is wrong. I am wishing they had put a TACC line the second time though as my doctor requested. Good luck to all and thanks.
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replied January 23rd, 2013
Longterm pic line Pain!!!
I had a picc line put in or so I was told. It went from the inside of my sholder below my clavical or collar bone on the left side after a car wreck 12 1/2 yrs ago and to this day I have a dabilitating pain that controls me. When it comes it goes up and down the left side of my body/face/arm. I have had stress tests done in the past even went out to try to make myself have a heart attack because I was sure that was it. Im so tired of this horrible pain and the doctors dont have a clue Ive been told so many things I dont recall. I even take pain meds for a different reason but they dont touch this pain. Its enough to make a man go crazy with worry and pain! I pray that none of you have to deal with this as long as Ive had too. I almost believe one day it will get the best of me. W/Love!!!
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replied January 8th, 2014
picc line removal
Ive had a picc line in for 55 days and it was removed 2 days ago. My arm hurts so bad that I can hardly use it. It hurts mostly under my arm pit and into my chest. Everytime I move my hands I feel what feels like lightning bolts. Whjats up with that?
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replied January 18th, 2014
picc line
Went to emergency with infection in right elbow where it was drained, cleaned & packed. Two days later back to ER with RT arm swollen from elbow to hand. Again drained, cleaned etc and put in hospital with MRSA. Two days of infusions then sent home with picc in left arm for 8 days of vancomycin infusion with home healthcare. I insisted on keeping picc in arm til tested free of MRSA. Healthcare Nurse removed picc. After a week shoulder pain but nothing I can't live with. Have trouble putting on shirt, coat (raising arm up shoulder level very painful), but the major problem is I have no strength in my left arm and hand! Had an Ultrasound last week and was informed that there were no blood clots! From reading this forum there doesn't seem to be many answers from the MD's! Shocked Shocked
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replied February 15th, 2014
I had a PICC line put in in 2011. It was in for about 5 months. Sometimes since then, if I over eat or drink too much water, I feel a dull ache where that PICC was in my left shoulder, neck, and heart area. In 2014 after experiencing two episodes of dull left shoulder ache and having a hard time getting a good breath, I ended up in the hospital. After 2 stress tests, an EKG, X-ray and blood work, no heart problem, no blood clots. When I continued to liken the symptoms to what I experienced with the PICC line, every doctor dismissed it.
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replied February 18th, 2014
WOW! I'm surprised this thread is still running. Thank you all for your incredibly powerful input!

It looks like docs don't have a whole lot of answers for us. Since posting this, the pain has finally stopped. It took about a year for my left arm to return to normal.

One note I'd like to make is to those who suffered cardiopulmonary events while injecting blood thinners. I also experienced this and, after a bunch of elimination, have realized that I'm allergic to porcine-based blood thinners. I'm allergic to pork anyway and injecting a pork-based product into my heart was probably NOT the best move.

I ended up in the CCU for 2 days with chest pain, difficulty breathing, blood pressure spikes, irregular heartbeat, etc. Every single scan came back "normal". In fact, the doc who examined my studies said I was "grossly unremarkable". Under different circumstances, I might have taken offense. Wink

It's very difficult to find bovine-based blood thinners anymore. Almost all of these products are porcine-based. Kinda sucks if I'm ever in need again. Of course, this may not be the reason for your issues, but it's something to think about.

Anyway, thank you again. I hope you've all found resolution to your health issues.
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replied March 19th, 2014
PICC Line Newbie
I'm a Type 1 Brittle Diabetic, and very hard stick for an IV, especially if i happen to be dehydrated. This last visit to teh ER, they finally just said 'we're doing a picc line, it will be easier'. I trusted them, and i had good experiences with it for the two days they had it in, before pulling it.

But now i've been getting a lot of pain in my chest, and in my neck, as well as leg pains, and i just wondered if this could somehow be connected, maybe, or if i'm going crazy. Thanks!
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