A Hickman line is a soft plastic tube that is tunnelled beneath the skin and placed a large vein. The catheter can be used to take blood samples and give fluids, chemotherapy and blood products. The benefits of having a Hickman line are that it will save you from having repeated needle pricks during treatment. You will usually have a double lumen catheter; each lumen has a clamp in place which will be used when the line is not in use. The line is inserted in our x-ray department under a local anaesthetic. You will have 2 cuts made, one in your chest and the other in your neck or near your collar bone.
The line will need to be flushed weekly. Only patient requiring more intensive chemotherapy (usually acute leukaemia or more aggressive types of lymphoma) and those needing a stem cell transplant will have a Hickman line inserted.