Chemotherapy Extravasation: Establishing a National Benchmark for Incidence Among Cancer Centers

Jeannette Jackson-Rose, RN, BSN; Judith Del Monte, MS, CPHQ; Adrienne Groman, MS; Linda S. Dial, RN, MN, AOCN®, ACNS-BC; Leah Atwell, MSN, RN; Judy Graham, MS, CS, RN, CPHQ, JCC; Rosemary O’Neil Semler, MA, RN, AOCNS®; Maryellen O’Sullivan, MA, RN, OCN®; Lisa Truini-Pittman, RN, MPH; Terri A. Cunningham, MSN, RN, AOCN®; Lisa Roman-Fischetti, RN, MSN, NEA-BC; Eileen Costantinou, MSN, RN-BC; Chris Rimkus, RN, MSN, AOCN®; Adrienne J. Banavage, MSN, RN-BC, OCN®; Barbara Dietz, BSN, RN, OCN®; Carol J. Colussi, MHA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC; Kimberly Catania, MSN, RN, CNS, AOCN®; Michelle Wasko, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC; Kevin A. Schreffler, MSN, RN; Colleen West, MBA, BSN, RN, CPHQ; Mary Lou Siefert, DNSc, APRN, AOCN®; Robert David Rice, PhD, RN, NP


Background: Given the high-risk nature and nurse sensitivity of chemotherapy infusion and extravasation prevention, as well as the absence of an industry benchmark, a group of nurses studied oncology-specific nursing-sensitive indicators. 

Objectives: The purpose was to establish a benchmark for the incidence of chemotherapy extravasation with vesicants, irritants, and irritants with vesicant potential.

Methods: Infusions with actual or suspected extravasations of vesicant and irritant chemotherapies were evaluated. Extravasation events were reviewed by type of agent, occurrence by drug category, route of administration, level of harm, follow-up, and patient referrals to surgical consultation.

Findings: A total of 739,812 infusions were evaluated, with 673 extravasation events identified. Incidence for all extravasation events was 0.09%.

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