Author(s): Kumar RJ, Pegg SP, Kimble RM
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Various agents have been implicated in causing tissue necrosis after intravenous infusions have extravasated. These include solutions of calcium, potassium, bicarbonate, hypertonic dextrose, cytotoxic drugs and antibiotics. Views on management of these injuries differ, and range from a non-operative conservative approach to early debridement and grafting. METHODS: A retrospective review was undertaken of the hospital files of patients with extravasation injuries seen in three Australian hospitals. Nine patients were identified, and their management and long-term follow up are reported. RESULTS: Age ranged from 17 days to 60 years. Two patients received their injuries from solutions containing isotonic dextrose/saline. The other seven patients received injuries from a variety of solutions including calcium gluconate (n = 1), parenteral nutrition (n = 1), sodium bicarbonate (n = 1), immunoglobulin (n = 1), gentamicin and penicillin (n = 1), flucloxacillin (n = 1), and the chemotherapeutic agents epirubicin and cyclophosphamide (n = 1). The sites involved included the dorsum of the right foot (n = 3), the dorsum of the left foot (n = 3), the right groin (n = 1), the right hand (n = 1) and the left hand (n = 1). Four patients were managed by delayed debridement and split skin grafting, while five were treated non-operatively. Prolonged scar management was necessary in seven of the nine patients. Final results were satisfactory in all patients who received skin grafting and in all patients who were managed conservatively. CONCLUSIONS: Management of extravasation injuries should be conservative if possible. Delayed debridement and split skin grafting is required if the area of skin loss is extensive. Scar management remains a problem. Prevention of these injuries with the education of both medical and nursing staff remains the ultimate aim.
This article was published in ANZ J Surg
and referenced in Pediatrics & Therapeutics