Vesicant Extravasation Part I: Mechanisms, Pathogenesis, and Nursing Care to Reduce Risk

Carmel Sauerland

Constance Engelking

Rita Wickham

Dominick Corbi

ONF 2006, 33(6), 1134-1141. DOI: 10.1188/06.ONF.1134-1141

Purpose/Objectives: To review the literature regarding the incidence, current practice, guideline recommendations, nursing management, and knowledge gaps relevant to vesicant extravasation.

Data Sources: Published research articles, books, case reports, and national guidelines.

Data Synthesis: Vesicant extravasation is a relatively rare but significant complication of chemotherapy administration. Extravasation may have a range of consequences that can cause serious physical and quality-of-life effects. Knowledge of risk factors and preventive measures can reduce patient risk. Data-based and empirical management strategies such as immediate local measures (agent withdrawal, comfort measures, and medical interventions) may minimize risk for extravasation, as well as lead to timely recognition and management and decreased morbidity should extravasation occur.

Conclusions: Vesicant extravasation and sequelae constitute a complex patient problem that clinicians should strive to prevent or to minimize injury should it occur. To this end, clinicians must demonstrate awareness of risks and use specialized knowledge while administering vesicant agents.

Implications for Nursing: Only nurses knowledgeable about extravasation and skilled in associated techniques should assume responsibility for vesicant administration.

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