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Management of Cytotoxic Extravasation – ASORS Expert Opinion for Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment

de Wit M, Ortner P, Lipp H.-P., Sehouli J, Untch M, Ruhnke M, Mayer-Steinacker R, Bokemeyer C, Jordan K

Onkologie 2013; 36: 127–135



Cytotoxic extravasation is a rare but potentially serious and painful complication of intravenous drug administration in oncology. Literature is anecdotal, and systematic clinical trials are scarce. The German working group for Supportive Care in Cancer (ASORS) has prepared an expert opinion for the diagnosis, prophylaxis and management of cytotoxic extravasation based on an interdisciplinary expert panel. 

Material and Methods: 

A Pubmed search was conducted for diagnosis, risk factors, symptoms, prophylaxis, and treatment of extravasation by the respective responsible expert. A writing committee compiled the manuscript and proposed the level of recommendation. In a consensus meeting, 13 experts reviewed and discussed the current practice in diagnosis and management of cytotoxic extravasation. In a telephone voting among the experts, the level of recommendation by ASORS was determined. 


Every effort should be made to reduce the risk of extravasation. Staff training, patient education, usage of right materials and infusion techniques have been identified to be mandatory to minimalize the risk of extravasation. Extravasation must be diagnosed as soon as possible, and specific therapy including antidotes dependent on the extravasated drug should be initiated immediately. An extravasation emergency set should be available wherever intravenous cytotoxics are applied. Documentation and post-treatment follow-up are recommended. 


We have developed a literature- and expert-based consensus recommendation to avoid cytotoxic extravasation. It also provides practical management instructions which should help to avoid surgery and serious late effects.

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