Probe high extravasation rates

An investigation of extravasation in City Hospital NHS Trust, Birmingham

AM Jones, BSc, MRPharms and A Stanley, BSc, MSc, MRPharms, Director of Oncology, Pharmacy Department, City Hospital NHS Trust.


This study investigates the incidence of extravasation and the factors that influence it in City Hospital NHS Trust, Birmingham – a typical district general hospital. The incidence established was 39 per cent, almost double that of previous published reports.1,2 The majority of IV administrations which extravasated did so within 72 hours, and the most common drug to extravasate was morphine sulphate. Age was an important factor, with elderly patients appearing to be more prone to extravasation. There were also some differences in the incidence of extravasation depending on cannulation technique, IV drug therapy, the patient’s circulatory status and their ability to communicate. Overall, extravasation was a problem within the non-specialist wards at City Hospital. However, whilst this high incidence rate was not leading to serious sequelae, it was resulting in high patient morbidity.3


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