Travelling with a PICC Line

Posted by LA Hipster @lahipster, Nov 15 9:29pm

Back in May I had surgery to replace my right hip after the first two were infected with pseudomonas. I now have a PICC line and am on a daily regimen of 1g of Ertepenem daily. PICC line maintenance requires me to visit the infusion center at my hospital every Wednesday to change the dressing and pick up my medications for the week.

We managed to travel out of town, leaving on Thursday and returning on Tuesday in time for my PICC dressing change and to pick up the week's dosages (elastomeric pumps). After a frank discussion with my infectious diseases doctor, it was decided that for safety I will remain on Ertepenem indefinitely, rather than risk another infection flare-up which could result in leg amputation.

Now that I have retired, partially due to these health concerns, I'm wondering what my options might be for longer term travel. I'd love to visit my family in Europe and try and stay longer than the days I have between dressing changes. What options, if any might I have? I can attempt to travel for longer periods of time to locations that have my HMO, but that's limited.

I also have some concerns about long-term PICC line use…what am I in for? So far so good, but it would be great to have some freedom to travel again.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Infectious Diseases Support Group.

Obviously I don’t know how old you are or your insurance coverage, but I’m on Mayo Medica and Medicare Part A. My coverage pays for a nurse to visit me every week, she check my vitals, does the blood draw and changes the PICC dressing, also my meds and any necessary supplies are sent by courier every week.
I don’t know if this info will help you, but for me it has made a @h!#t¥ situation a bit better.


I'm going on 61, with Kaiser HMO. I used to have weekly nurse visits for the dressing change and another service for blood draw, but since I've become more mobile after my hip surgery I have to go to the infusion center at my hospital every week for the dressing change and blood draw.
Since my dressing change day is Wednesday, I was able to travel domestically from Thursday to Tuesday. Getting through TSA and carrying on the medicine was not a problem.
My nurse today informed me that the weekly dressing change is a Kaiser policy, but the dressing can safely last longer. Apparently PICC lines aren't common in Hungary, so I'm concerned what the consequences might be if something happens to my PICC line or meds. Has anyone ever been to Europe with a PICC line?

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