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Chemotherapy Extravasation From Implanted Ports

Lisa Schulmeister
Dawn Camp-Sorrell
ONF 2000, 27(3), 531-538 DOI: 10.1188/00.ONF.531-538

Purpose/Objectives: To describe the four primary causes of extravasation from implanted ports.

Data Sources: Journal articles, textbooks, medical records, depositions, serial photographs, and the authors' personal experiences.

Data Synthesis: Extravasation from ports can occur by four major mechanisms: incomplete needle placement and needle dislodgment, thrombus or fibrin sheath formation, perforation of the superior vena cava, and catheter fracture. The degree of tissue injury can vary but may be severe enough to require that a simple mastectomy be performed to manage chest wall necrosis.

Conclusions: Extravasation is a known risk of chemotherapy administration via implanted ports. Vesicants should be administered only after a blood return has been obtained and the needle inserted into the port septum has been adequately secured.

Implications for Nursing Practice: Extravasation of vesicant drugs from ports can cause tissue necrosis and may prompt litigation. Risk-management strategies include careful assessment and use of ports, comprehensive patient teaching about the risk of extravasation and measures to decrease the likelihood of needle dislodgment, and development of extravasation-management policies that address port extravasations.

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