The management of chemotherapy extravasation

Date: 
28 Jan 2009
Source: 
Northern Ireland Cancer Network
Audience: 
Professionals
Type of resource: 
Guidance

Purpose 

To help practitioners who are involved in the administration of intravenous (IV) chemotherapy to recognise extravasation and successfully manage it to minimise the risk of injury. 

Summary 

Extravasation is defined as the unintended administration of a pharmaceutical into the tissue spaces surrounding a vein during intravenous injection. The consequences are often pain, erythema, inflammation and discomfort. Damage can continue for months and involve nerves, tendons and joints. If left undiagnosed, or if treatment is delayed, surgical debridement, skin grafting, and even amputation may result. 

For the purposes of this policy ‘chemotherapy’ means all intravenous anti-cancer treatments including cytotoxic drugs, monoclonal antibodies and biological agents. 

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