Extravasation injury in a paediatric population.

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Extravasation occurs when a drug is inadvertently administered outside of the vein. Depending on the substance involved, this may lead to tissue necrosis with significant long-term morbidity. Children, particularly neonates, are particularly susceptible to extravasation with up to 70% of children in neonatal intensive care unit having some form of extravasation injury. These injuries are commonly referred to plastic surgeons for ongoing management.


We prospectively collected information on all extravasation injuries referred to the plastic surgery department in a children's hospital over an 18-month period. Data collected included the agent involved in the extravasation, treatment and outcomes.


In total, there were 43 extravasation injuries recorded on the hospital risk management system during the period of this study. All of these were referred to the plastic surgery team for ongoing management. Five patients (11%) underwent washout of their injuries. Three patients (7%) suffered injuries, which led to significant tissue necrosis, delayed healing and prolonged morbidity.


Smaller infants, particularly those being cared for in an intensive care setting, are at increased risk for extravasation injury. Early referral and treatment of high-risk extravasation injuries may reduce the incidence of tissue loss and morbidity.

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