What is extravasation?
Extravasation is the accidental or inappropriate process of one substance leaking from a vein into the surrounding tissues (Jones & Coe 2004), this term is a generic term for this process however the scope of this guidance is when the substance involved is a cytotoxic agent or a monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of malignant disease.
A broader definition of extravasation includes the resulting injury. Depending on the substance that extravasates into the tissue, the degree of injury can range from a very mild skin reaction to severe necrosis (McCaffrey Boyle & Engelking 1995).
The extent of injury is determined by the following factors:
- the type of drug which extravasates
- the concentration and volume of drug in the tissue
- the location of the extravasation
- the co-morbidities and other patient factors
Why collect data?
An extravasation injury has the potential for significant impact on the patient’s quality of life (Allwood, Stanley, Wright (Ed) 2002). Therefore, it is imperative that data is collected via a reporting system to analyse trends, risk factors, incidence and management, providing evidence for future improved practice.