Chemotherapy Extravasation Management: 21-Year Experience

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Chemotherapy extravasation may result in serious damage to patients, with irreversible local injures and disability. Evidence-based standardization on extravasation management is lacking and many institutions do not practice adequate procedures to prevent the severer damages. Our aim was to explore the prevention and treatment of extravasation injuries, proposing a standard therapeutic protocol together with a review of the literature. From January 1994 to December 2015, 545 cases were reviewed (age range, 5–87 years; 282 men and 263 women). Our therapeutic protocol consisted of local infiltration of saline solution and topical occlusive applications of corticosteroids. The infiltrations were administrated 3 to 6 times a week depending on damage severity. Our protocol allowed us to prevent ulceration in 373 cases. Only 27 patients required surgery (escarectomy, skin graft, regional, and free flap). Numerous treatments have been proposed in literature. The antidotes have been discussed controversially and are not considered standard methods for treatment, especially when polychemotherapy is administrated and the identification of the responsible drug is not possible. We proposed the use of saline solution injection to dilute rapidly the drug, thus reducing its local toxic effects. This method is easy to use and always reproducible even when the drug is not known or when it is administrated in combination with other drugs. It is possible to perform it in ambulatory regimen, and, overall, it represents a standard method.

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