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What Are the Signs of Extravasation?

by | Aug 27, 2020 | Medical Malpractice

“What are the signs of extravasation?” is an important question when determining malpractice after an extravasation injury. Get the answers here from our top-rated attorneys.

When receiving IV (intravenous) treatment at a hospital or clinic, patients expect a safe and straightforward process. While this is the case most of the time, complications such as extravasation can occur.


Extravasation occurs when the liquid (usually a vesicant or chemotherapeutic drug) that is supposed to go directly into the vein from an IV catheter leaks into the surrounding tissue and causes damage. Damage from extravasation can range anywhere from inflammation to complete tissue death.


The most severe cases tend to follow milder signs of extravasation. This is a common feature in IV extravasation medical malpractice cases. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of negligent medical care during an IV treatment, please contact the trusted Atlanta malpractice lawyers at Davis Adams as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Know the Signs of Extravasation


Extravasation can occur for a number of reasons, but a few common causes include a clogged or dislodged catheter, improper set-up of the infusion device, and wrongful administration of the IV fluid. While some of these causes can occur naturally or accidentally, they are most often due to a negligent medical error. 


It may not be immediately obvious that extravasation has occurred, but there will usually be at least some signs soon after the onset. The exact signs of extravasation can depend on the type of extravasation that has occurred, but common signs that medical professionals should look out for include the following:

  • Pain, tenderness, itchiness, or burning
  • Redness 
  • Swelling, puffy, or hard skin
  • Blistering or peeling of the skin
  • Lightening or darkening of the skin around the site
  • Decreased circulation
  • Cool skin 
  • IV not working


The physical signs of extravasation will usually begin in the immediate vicinity of the IV site, but the symptoms can spread to other areas of the body if left untreated.

Know the Signs of Extravasation

Negligence in Identifying & Treating the Signs of Extravasation


A number of factors can influence the severity of an extravasation injury. Most influential, however, are the type of drug involved and the amount of time it takes for the patient’s medical team to identify and treat the extravasation. In essence, the longer it takes to identify and treat the accident, the more severe an IV extravasation injury may be.


When extravasation occurs, it must be immediately identified and addressed by the patient’s medical providers to limit the spread of damage. However, this can only happen if the patient is properly monitored for the signs of extravasation. If the signs of extravasation are clear and the patient’s medical providers failed to take action to prevent further injury and properly treat the damage, the patient may be able to see compensation for their injuries with the help of a medical malpractice lawyer.


If you believe you may be a victim of medical malpractice after an IV extravasation injury, you need a dedicated legal advocate by your side. At Davis Adams, we offer unparalleled experience representing IV extravasation victims, and our award-winning lawyers are ready to help you pursue the compensation you deserve by pursuing a medical malpractice claim against those responsible for your injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and begin your road to recovery.

Negligence in Identifying Treating the Signs of Extravasation