A Hickman line
is an intravenous device inserted for a longer period of time to administer chemotherapy
or other substances.
The insertion of a Hickman line is usually done under sedation
or a general anesthetic by a radiologist. It involves two incisions, one at the jugular vein and one on the chest wall. At the former, a tube is inserted into the vein and advanced into the superior vena cava. It is then tunneled under the skin to the second incision. The first one is then sutured. Throughout the procedure, ultrasound
and X-rays are used to ascertain the positioning of the catheter.
Potential complications include hemorrhage and pneumothorax during insertion and thrombosis or infection at later stages.